Today was the last day that August Wolf, who wants a chance to compete for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, has to submit signatures to local election officials.
The magic number Wolf needs to hit to get on the Republican primary ballot is 8,079.
“We have been aggressively collecting signatures, and have driven all across the state delivering them,” Conor McGuiness, a spokesman for the Wolf campaign, said. “We are confident that our efforts are enough to secure 8,079 signatures.”
Several Republican registrars of voters have received petition sheets from Wolf’s campaign and will have one week to verify the signatures of the Republican voters in their towns. Once the towns have checked the petition sheets they will be submitted the verified signatures to the Secretary of the State’s office where they will be tallied.
Joe Visconti, who ran a successful signature drive to appear on the 2014 ballot for governor, said the odds are stacked against the Wolf campaign. Factors standing in Wolf’s way include finding good places to gather signatures, such as grocery stores, where campaigns need clearance from managers to gather ballots.
It’s also complicated by the fact that a voter has to sign a sheet designated for their town, which makes collecting signatures in regional locations difficult for volunteers.
Additionally, Visconti said the state’s rules for signature campaigns can be complex, and both Wolf and state Rep. Dan Carter are “behind the 8-ball” on name recognition. The latest Quinnipiac University poll has the Republican candidates losing 2-to-1 in a general election matchup with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“It’s a tough year even if he makes it,” Visconti said.
In 2010, Peter Schiff earned enough signatures to challenge Linda McMahon who won the party’s endorsement at the convention and eventually won the Republican primary with 49 percent of the vote. She was later defeated by Blumenthal.
On Tuesday, Republican registrars were required to be in their offices between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to receive the signatures.
Guilford’s Republican Registrar Gloria Nemczuk said she’s verified at least 144 signatures as of 3:30 p.m.
She said she was aware that Wolf held at least two petition drives in Guilford at the Wal-Mart and the Big Y.
Thomas Dunkerton, the Republican registrar in Brookfield, said they just got the petitions last night and have not been able to verify them. He said there were 13 petition sheets with various amounts of signatures on them.
Fairfield Republican registrar Roger Autuori said his office initially received 37 pages of signatures, but that the number of signatures varies widely, with some only having a single signature to the page. There were 195 signatures in the initial collection he was sent, though more have been coming in throughout the day.
In Waterbury, meanwhile, Republican registrar Tim DeCarlo received 18 total signatures in the initial delivery from the Wolf campaign, only 12 of which were verified.
Bethlehem Republican Registrar Melissa Russell hadn’t received any signatures from the Wolf campaign as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Lucy Correlli, the Stamford Republican registrar, said her office had received 81 pages of signatures as of 2:30 p.m., but is still checking the numbers and verifying signatures.
Christine Stuart contributed to this report.