ctnewsjunkie file photo
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to reporters outside the governor’s residence in March (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT – When U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign earlier this week, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill urged him to withdraw his name from the state’s ballot.

Sanders said he wasn’t going to do that. That means Connecticut will be forced to hold a presidential primary unless Gov. Ned Lamont cancels it.

However, Lamont said Friday he’s not interested in doing that.

Lamont said he’s getting a lot of feedback on the issue, but he hopes he doesn’t have to cancel the June 2 primary. He said Connecticut could postpone the presidential primary until July.

“I know a number of the other governors are considering that, thinking the situation might be mitigated by then,” Lamont added. “Obviously, the Secretary of the State thinks this might be a good time for voting by mail. That’s got some controversy here in the building. So that’s the options we have, but I think canceling the primary is just not the right way to do it.”

Sanders’ announcement Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign “effectively ends the justification to hold a presidential primary in Connecticut,” Merrill said. “The results are now predetermined: there is only one active candidate remaining on the Democratic side, and one candidate has mathematically clinched the nomination on the Republican side.”

She said it doesn’t make sense during a global pandemic to “put the health and safety of Connecticut’s voters and poll workers at risk, and I would hope that the remaining candidates would recognize that and act accordingly.”

Connecticut COVID-19 Briefing – 10 a.m. – April 10, 2020

Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to provide a briefing on COVID-19 today at 10 a.m.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Friday, April 10, 2020

Sen. Mae Flexer, who co-chairs the General Administration and Elections Committee, said she’s glad to hear that Lamont “is continuing to discuss this with other governors and may push back the June 2nd primary if protecting public health will not allow the primary to take place that day.”

Republican Party Chairman JR Romano, who has opposed holding a Republican presidential primary, said “This isn’t about democracy. This is about a party choosing a candidate to execute democracy.”

He said how a party chooses its candidates is different depending on the state and it’s very different from a November election.

Romano opposed holding the Republican presidential primary because there was no path to victory for either of the two Republicans challenging President Donald Trump. And it was going to force municipalities to spend money on what he called “political pettiness.”

Romano said if the state moves forward with a presidential primary, “The bread is baked to force towns, in a time of crisis, to spend the money.”

If Lamont doesn’t sign an executive order to cancel the presidential primary, the legislature could meet to put an end to it (an unpopular idea in this day and age of social distancing) or the remaining challengers could remove their names from the ballot.

Romano has been asking Rocky De La Fuente to do just that.

Tulsi Gabbard, another Democratic candidate who qualified for Connecticut’s ballot, has also not withdrawn her name.