Connecticut Democrats make their pitch to the DNC rules committee. Credit: Courtesy of the Democratic Party

What if Connecticut’s presidential primary was before April? Connecticut Democratic State Party Chair Nancy DiNardo went to make the case Thursday to her colleagues at the Democratic National Committee that the state’s presidential primary should be earlier.

The presidential primary season is focused on a handful of states, and DiNardo said that Connecticut should be part of that mix during a phone call from the airport on her trip back.

Connecticut was one of 17 states making their in-person pitch Thursday to the DNC. 

“Connecticut has a rich, diverse population, and a geography that makes campaigning statewide manageable, and there is no reason why our voters should not play a more direct role in Presidential politics,” DiNardo said.

She said it would bring both candidates and money to the state of Connecticut. 

The DNC is expected to pick four or five states from among the finalists, which in addition to Connecticut are Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

“Connecticut has long been a microcosm of the American population, and is an ideal setting for a Presidential primary,” U.S. Rep. Jim Himes told the Selection Committee. “Our state is both diverse and compact, providing Presidential candidates with the opportunity to directly interact with voters in vibrant cities, picturesque rural towns, and farmlands, located just minutes apart.”

If the DNC approves, the Connecticut General Assembly would need to pass legislation to change the date of the primary and the Republican Party would need to move theirs, too. 

Connecticut is a closed primary state which means only voters registered with that party can vote in the primary. New Hampshire, which is the first state in the nation to hold the primary, is an open primary state and voters regardless of their party affiliation can vote.

Connecticut Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo

“There are 2.2 million registered voters in the state and they care deeply about their communities,” state Rep. Stephanie Thomas, the endorsed candidate for Secretary of the State, said. “Given our geography and range of ethnic and racial diversity, Connecticut provides candidates with an opportunity to interact with and learn from residents with diverse points of view. An early Presidential primary contest would engage local town committees, boost candidate recruitment and organizing at all levels, strengthening the entire election process.”