HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s secretary of the state announced Friday which candidates will appear on the ballot for the April 28 presidential primaries.
Unlike some states, including Nevada, South Carolina and Kansas, Connecticut plans to hold a Republican primary even though President Donald Trump is expected to easily win his nomination for a second term. Besides Trump, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and California businessman Rocky De La Fuente, whose name also appeared on Connecticut’s Democratic presidential primary ballot in 2016, were selected to appear on this year’s ballot, Denise Merrill announced.
J.R. Romano, chairman of the state Republican Party, criticized Merrill for holding a GOP primary, accusing her on Facebook of “forcing towns to spend money for no reason!” Romano wrote “everyone in CT see this for what it is,” calling Merrill’s decision “political pettiness.”
Gabe Rosenberg, Merrill’s communications director, said the secretary of the state was following the law.
“What J.R. calls pettiness, we call democracy,” he said. “Our office followed both the letter and the spirit of the law, and let the voters decide.”
Merrill said Connecticut law requires her to place on the ballot any presidential candidate whose candidacy for a party’s nomination “is generally and seriously advocated or recognized according to reports in the national or state news media.” Merrill said her office has been collecting news articles for the past year to decide who met that requirement.
“The law is clear for us that the threshold is not who can win or viability,” she said. “The threshold is whether they’ve been generally and seriously advocated for or recognized by the national and state news media. And I would argue that all of these people certainly have had recognition.”
Much of the state’s attention will be focused on the Democratic primary, however.
The list of Democratic candidates that will appear are: former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Candidates who were not selected by Merrill can still appear on the ballots if they file petitions with the signatures of at least 1% of the active members of their party. The petitions must be turned into town registrars by March 6. Merrill will then publicly draw names of eligible candidates on March 24 to determine the order of how they will appear on their respective primary ballots.
While it’s too late for voters to switch from one party to another, unaffiliated and new voters have until April 23 to registered online at www.myvote.ct.gov/register or until April 27 to register in person at their local town hall. Connecticut is one of six states that have scheduled presidential primaries for April 28.