The Democratic field of secretary of the state hopefuls continued to narrow this week as another candidate dropped out of the race while Republican candidates doubled down setting the stage for a three-way primary.
Earlier this month, delegates for the two parties chose from a crowded roster of candidates looking to replace retiring Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. Democrats nominated state Rep. Stephanie Thomas of Norwalk and Republicans picked Dominic Rapini of Hamden.
But in both cases, other candidates drew enough support from delegates to launch primary challenges. Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, was one such candidate who made the decision Wednesday not to challenge Thomas. A spokesman for Santiago said Thursday she had withdrawn from the race.
“This was a difficult decision,” Santiago said in an email to supporters. “So many people have called in the past week to urge me to primary and I am grateful for their continued support and the faith they have in our movement but at the end of the day, I simply do not see how a three-way primary helps us win in November.”
On the Democratic side that leaves Thomas and New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond, who earned enough support to qualify for a primary and intends to stay in the race, according to the New Haven Independent.
“I’ve filed my paperwork for the primary and look forward to taking my message directly to the Democrats across Connecticut,” Bond told the Independent.
Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, also qualified but dropped out last week to seek reelection to his Senate seat.
The Republican field is a little more crowded. In addition to Rapini, Rep. Terrie Wood of Darien and Brock Weber of Wolcott earned enough support to force a primary. Both signaled this week they would stay in the race.
In an interview Thursday, Wood said she had signed paperwork to run a primary challenge before the convention had concluded. She said she offered Republicans experience and electability.
“I know what sound policy looks like, I know how to bring people together and I have a proven track record of a lot of common sense,” Wood said.
Weber updated supporters on his intent to move forward with a primary campaign through a video posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday.
“We’re ready to roll. We will see you guys in August, let’s move on to the primary and let’s win this thing,” Weber said.