In 2006, Connecticut’s first August primary, 43 percent of registered Democrats turned out to vote for Ned Lamont and against the War in Iraq.
Voter turnout in that primary was the highest in the state’s history, so what does Tuesday have in store?
With only one statewide contest for U.S. Senate on both sides of the aisle, campaigns and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill are predicting about 25 to 30 percent turnout, but it could be higher in the 5th Congressional District where three Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy. Murphy is in his own battle for retiring U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s seat and will face former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz on Tuesday.
The union support for both Murphy and Chris Donovan, who is one of three candidates in the 5th District, will help them get their supporters to the polls on Tuesday.
Matt O’Connor, political director for 32BJ, said Saturday that their members have been out pounding the pavement knocking on doors and making phone calls for the candidates both from their union offices and other locations like Democratic headquarters in New Britain on Saturday. O’Connor said getting their members to talk to their family and friends about a candidate has been extremely successful in the past.
On the Republican side of the U.S. Senate contest Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive, will face off against former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays.
Even though polls put Murphy and McMahon far ahead of Bysiewicz and Shays, none of the campaigns are taking anything for granted and have been working all weekend to get their voters to the polls Tuesday.
Republicans are hoping turnout this April for the presidential preference primary isn’t any indication of what to expect on Tuesday.
Only 14.3 percent, or about 59,639 Republican voters, turned out on April 24 to vote for their presidential pick, which had pretty much been decided before the primary even occurred. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced he was suspending his campaign, thus cementing Mitt Romney’s status as the nominee, just two weeks before Connecticut voted.
In 2010 turnout for the August primary was much better. That year, about 29.76 percent of Republican voters turned out to vote in the U.S. Senate primary that year between McMahon, Peter Schiff and Rob Simmons.
In 2008, voter turnout was abysmal with 15.3 percent of Republican voters and 13.7 percent of Democratic voters turning out. That year, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes was running against Lee Whitnum and there were a dozen or so races for General Assembly seats, but no race attracted national attention like the Lamont-Lieberman battle in 2006.
However, earlier that year in February there was much higher turnout for the presidential preference primaries. More than 36 percent of Republicans turned out to vote for one of the eight presidential candidates on the ballot and 51.1 percent of Democrats turned out to vote for one of their eight candidates. At the time both President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had visited the state in anticipation of the primary, which showed the two in a neck-and-neck race through the summer.
“This year, some of the most closely watched primary contests in the country are happening right here in Connecticut,” Merrill said Friday. “I encourage all registered voters to come out to the polls on Tuesday and take part in deciding which names appear on the ballot this November.“
Since the beginning of this year, some 57,474 new voters have registered to vote bringing the total number of voters up to 1,968,790. This figure includes 723,035 Democrats, 412,509 Republicans and 818,703 unaffiliated voters.
But Connecticut’s primaries are closed to voters who don’t affiliate with one of the two major parties, so many won’t be able to vote Tuesday unless they change their registration to Democrat or Republican before noon today.
Of the 57,474 newly registered votes about 26,004 have registered unaffiliated and won’t be able to participate Tuesday.
There are a total of 24 primaries throughout the state.
This list of 24 primaries is below:
United States Senator Republican *Linda E. McMahon and Christopher Shays
United States Senator Democratic *Christopher S. Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz
Representative in Congress – 2 Republican *Paul M. Formica and Daria Novack
Representative in Congress – 5 Republican *Andrew Roraback, Justin Bernier, Lisa Wilson Foley, and Mark Greenberg
Representative in Congress – 5 Democratic *Chris Donovan, Elizabeth Esty, and Dan Roberti
State Senate – 19 Democratic *Tom Reynolds, Catherine A. Osten
State Senate – 23 Democratic *Ernest E. Newton II, Andres Ayala, Jr., and Edwin A. Gomes
State Senate – 33 Democratic *James Crawford and Mary Ellen Klinck
Assembly District – 3 Democratic *Minnie Gonzalez and Victor M. Luna, Jr.
Assembly District – 5 Democratic *Leo Canty, Brandon McGee, and Donald Trinks
Assembly District – 6 Democratic *Edwin Vargas, Jr. and Hector Luis Robles
Assembly District – 13 Democratic *Joe Diminico and Tom Gullotta
Assembly District – 58 Democratic *Kathy Tallarita and David Alexander
Assembly District – 63 Democratic *Michael J. Renzullo and Doug Bendetto
Assembly District – 75 Democratic *Victor Cuevas and David Aldarondo
Assembly District – 91 Democratic *John P. Flanagan and Michael C. D’Agostino
Assembly District – 107 Republican *Harold A. Shaker and David A. Scribner
Assembly District – 116 Democratic *Louis P. Esposito, Jr. and David C. Forsyth
Assembly District – 128 Democratic *Christina M. Ayala and Angel Reyes
Assembly District – 132 Democratic *Sue Brand and Kevin Coyner
Hamden – Bethany Probate District Democratic *Craig B. Henrici and Edward C. Burt, Jr.
Registrar of Voters – Hartford Republican *Salvatore A. Bramante and Nyesha C. McCauley
Registrar of Voters – Hartford Democratic *Ramon L. Arroyo and Olga Iris Vazquez
* Denotes the endorsed candidate