NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s Primary Day around Connecticut with 15 Democratic primaries and five Republican races, all for an opportunity to choose who will represent the party at the polls in November for the general election. Offices are open from the mayor’s to the probate judges.
Seventeen polling places are open around the city of New Britain. There are 18,000 registered Democrats but only 8% showed up to vote.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said it best: “Sadly, these are the races that are the most meaningful” but get the least turnout.
In New Britain, voters are trickling in to vote in this Democratic primary for mayor.
The party-endorsed candidate is State Representative Bobby Sanchez.
“I’m a very open-minded person. I listen to everyone. As chair of the education committee, I get along with everyone regardless of party,” Rep. Sanchez said.
His primary opponent is 25-year-old newcomer, Wesleyan and Yale-educated Alicia Hernandez Strong. She petitioned onto the ballot and forced a runoff.
“Even though the mayor’s term is only two years, the power of the mayor to negotiate contracts and do other things is much much longer,” she said.
The winner in New Britain faces Republican incumbent Mayor Erin Stewart. She is running for her fifth term.
Around the state, low turnout is expected in this non-presidential election year.
“Last year was a high watermark… more people voted last year than ever before in Connecticut,” Merrill said.
One of the state’s biggest Democratic primary races is in Stamford. In the state’s second-largest city, the incumbent Mayor David Martin had to petition to get on the ballot, forcing a primary to party-endorsed State Representative Caroline Simmons.
Whoever wins faces independent candidate Bobby Valentine in November. The Republican candidate dropped out last week and endorsed Valentine.
Governor Ned Lamont weighed in on the primary by dodging who he supports.
“They’re going to have a great mayor and we’re gonna find out who it is in about 12 hours,” Lamont said.
In Hamden, there is a three-way Democratic race for mayor. The incumbent is fighting for his job.
In New Haven, there is a contentious Democratic race for alderman in Ward 20.
No matter which race you watch, voters know what they want.
“Fresh ideas and services for everybody.” Critical race theory is at the center of a Republican primary for the Board of Education in Guilford.
Polls close at 8 pm.