Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney and Speaker of the House Matt Ritter highlight in a commentary that appeared first in The Courant an effort for Connecticut to become a first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary.
Every four years, presidential primaries kick off a surge in interest, attention and focus in select states. Despite their small number of electoral votes, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina draw the country’s attention. With campaigns fighting to win every vote, the states themselves benefit from the name value and positioning they gain in the process through increased spending and investment during the long primary season.
Compare that to Connecticut. Our April primaries come much later in the process, often after presidential candidates are already all but crowned. That late positioning leads to a lower turnout in voting, less interest and fewer benefits to the state. If we held our primary in January, among the fastest to the post, our role would likely change significantly.
With that hope, we’re happy to report Connecticut is in the running to do just that. Our state is one of 16 under consideration to become a first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary, and there are plenty of reasons why we should succeed in that effort.
For one, demographically, Connecticut is a reflection of the United States. Our state features significant racial diversity–much more so than Iowa or New Hampshire–and our Black, Hispanic and Asian American communities all play vital roles in our state’s culture and leadership. These demographics also align with national population statistics. New Haven and Hartford counties are two of the nation’s three most demographically similar regions to the overall United States population, with residents’ ages, education, race and ethnicity matching American demographics. Our workforce also spans across a number of industries, further backing Connecticut’s strengths as a microcosm perfect for voting representation.
Connecticut effectively reflects the nation; where else can you move from the strong urban centers of New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport and the wealthy corridors of Fairfield County to quiet suburbs and deep, beautiful rural communities within just a few miles? That regional diversity is made even stronger with our state’s economic diversity. In an early primary, Connecticut’s votes would correlate strongly to American diversity. With just eight counties but 169 towns and cities, Connecticut has an interested and active voter base. Five of those cities have populations over 100,000; 11 have populations under 2,000. Our state truly reflects America.
Full editorial here.