NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – News 8 is your election headquarters. Today is the day of our exclusive primary debate among the Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate.

The winner of the August primary will challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Who will be the Republican nominee to run for U.S. Senate here in Connecticut? Registered Republican voters will decide on August 9.

Here are the candidates:

Endorsed party favorite Themis Klarides. An attorney, living in Madison, Klarides was the Minority Leader in the state House.  She is the only candidate to have won an election.

Leora Levy, the National Party Committee Woman, claims to be the most conservative candidate in the race.  She has never run for political office and has flip-flopped on her abortion stance and her support of former President Trump.

And lastly, Peter Lumaj. He is an attorney who has unsuccessfully run for statewide office twice before. Lumaj holds the most consistent conservative bonafide. He supports gun rights, is against abortion, and supported former President Donald Trump.

Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University, Scott McLean says it is hard to predict this race.

“This is a real test of how strong the Trump effect is in Connecticut politics,” McLean said.

Republicans represent the fewest number of registered voters in the state and participation is historically low in summer primary elections.

“Even though the voters are sleepy right now during vacation time. They should be wide awake,” said McLean.

McLean says there is not a lot of party anger to turn out the conservative base and therefore, Levy and Lumaj could split that voting block.

That leaves Klarides, the more moderate Republican, to run up the middle and go on to the general election.

McLean says there will be big topics tackled in Washington D.C. after the midterms.

“In the Senate, there is going to be a bill about abortion, there is going to be a bill about same-sex marriage,” McLean said.

McLean adds that Connecticut’s closed primaries, only those registered in the party can vote, make it risky for moderates.

In our News 8/The Hill/Emerson Poll conducted in May, Klarides came within striking distance of Blumenthal.  Will Republicans back a more moderate candidate? We will know in 15 days.

News 8 will host an exclusive debate Tuesday night at 8 p.m. streaming on or live on WCTX.