Christine Stuart photo
August Wolf on the steps of the state Capitol (Christine Stuart photo)

Calling the system “rigged” Wednesday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate August Wolf said he plans to collect 8,079 signatures of registered Republican voters for an opportunity to primary state Rep. Dan Carter, who won the GOP’s endorsement at Monday’s convention.

Wolf, the Stamford businessman who finished fourth in the 1984 Olympics in the shotput, said the party should have held the convention in a train station because they “railroaded the process.”

“Insiders picked the nominee and manipulated the process further by denying me a space on the ballot,” Wolf said Wednesday at a state Capitol press conference.

Wolf said his campaign had a “ton of support” going into the convention, but it was “arm twisted away by the insiders.”

At Monday’s convention, Wolf stood on the sidelines of the convention floor and watched as the 15 percent of the delegate support he needed to qualify slowly got picked off by Carter, who only entered the race a month ago. Wolf has been running for a year.

Asked about what type of floor operation he had at the convention, Wolf said “we actually have five full-time staffers. I don’t believe Rep. Carter has any.” It’s unclear if any of those staff members were working the floor trying to convince delegates to vote for Wolf.

Wolf declined to talk about the amount of money he will have to reimburse donors if he doesn’t get on the primary ballot. In federal races, candidates are allowed to receive $2,700 for each phase of the election: convention, primary, and general. Many of Wolf’s donors gave him more than $2,700 believing he would advance to the primary. The remainder of those donations will have to be returned if he doesn’t get on the ballot.

“I’m not even worried about that,” Wolf said.

As of April 19, Wolf had $187,746 cash on hand. In the four weeks leading up to the convention, Carter raised $6,200 and loaned his campaign $20,000.

Christine Stuart file photo
Dan Carter on the convention floor Monday (Christine Stuart file photo)

Wolf said going into the convention he thought he had more than the 15 percent needed to automatically qualify for a primary.

Richard Foley, an adviser to Carter’s campaign, said he thought Wolf would walk away from the convention with 30 percent of the delegates. He said he frankly was surprised Wolf didn’t receive enough to primary.

Foley, a former Republican State Party Chairman, said that for a guy who always invokes the Olympics and the spirit of competition, Wolf should know that good sportsmanship is determined by “how you get up.” He said the process Wolf was complaining about Wednesday is the same process the state party has had in place for 30 years.

But Wolf maintained the process was unfair.

“I saw firsthand what Donald Trump has been complaining about all year, and it’s right here in Connecticut. And it’s world-class insiderism, right here.” Wolf said.

He said Republican voters should choose who challenges U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, “not party insiders.”

Wolf called Carter a “milquetoast Republican who is not the right candidate for this election.”