HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 3:44 p.m.) Petitioning gubernatorial candidates had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to submit signatures to local Registrars of Voters in order to get onto the Aug. 14 primary ballot. Most were confident they had collected enough signatures to qualify, but only time will tell as the names are verified.
Petitions had to be submitted to the Registrars of Voters in every municipality from which a campaign had collected so much as one registered voter’s signature.
Republican candidates David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski each will have to submit more than 9,081 signatures of registered Republican voters to qualify.
Stemerman’s campaign said it submitted 20,000 signatures, while Stefanowski’s campaign said it submitted 15,568.
However, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti’s campaign announced that it would fall short of the signatures needed and would be bowing out of the contest.
“With more than 80,000 signatures expected to be submitted for verification by other candidates, the Lauretti campaign has decided it is best to not burden local Registrars and the Secretary of the State with additional work that will not result in Mayor Lauretti getting on the August ballot,” Lauretti said in a statement.
On the Democratic side, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and Guy Smith each will have to submit more than 15,458 registered Democrat signatures in order to qualify.
Ganim’s campaign said it submitted more than 32,000 signatures and Smith’s campaign declined to put a number on their collection efforts, but said they were confident they submitted enough.
The Registrars of Voters have seven days to check the signatures and then mail the originals to the Secretary of the State’s office, which then also has to certify the numbers.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Tuesday that “it’s a much bigger job this year than it ever has been. There are definitely more petitioning candidates than we’ve ever seen.”
Merrill said her office is waiting to get buried in paperwork.
“We’re anticipating we could get upwards of 10,000 pieces of paper to check,” Merrill said Tuesday.
Merrill said she doesn’t believe they will be finished before the end of June.