HARTFORD, CT — Minutes after ending his daily press briefing Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont moved Connecticut’s presidential primary a second time — from June 2 to Aug. 11.
Lamont had already rescheduled the April 28 primary to June 2 at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Legislative and congressional primaries were already scheduled for Aug. 11 so moving the presidential primary to this date made sense to Lamont and could cut down on additional costs for municipalities.
“To protect the health and safety of voters, poll workers, and the most vulnerable populations, it just makes the most sense to extend the date out to August,” Lamont said. “I appreciate the continued contact with Secretary Merrill, as well as all of our town clerks and registrars who’ve worked with us each step of the way through this crisis to respond and make necessary adjustments.”
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said she supports the decision.
“This date change will allow us to make it easier to protect the health and safety of voters and local election officials, prepare for the anticipated increase in demand for absentee ballots, save towns money, and let voters make their voices heard in the presidential primary process, all by holding one primary instead of two,” Merrill said.
Not everyone agrees it’s a good idea.
“This is the grossest, most political thing he could do,” Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said. “This primary has no impact and this is all about pushing his mail-in ballot initiative without having the state ready.”
Romano has repeatedly said there’s no reason to hold a Republican presidential primary and has encouraged Rocky De La Fuente to withdraw his name from the ballot.
Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate who qualified for Connecticut’s ballot, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who suspended his campaign, have not withdrawn their names from the ballot.
If all three candidates withdrew their names from the ballot there wouldn’t be a presidential primary.
Romano said he didn’t believe there would be any congressional primaries this year and few legislative primaries in a few towns, but not every town in the state.
“It’s an embarrassment and it’s wrong,” Romano said. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”