Saturday is make-or-break-day in a way for the gubernatorial campaign of Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, with 1,258 delegates to vote on nominating a Republican candidate.
The vote will take place at the Mohegan Sun convention center during the two-day state Republican State Convention, which began on Friday.
Lauretti needs to pick up 15% of the delegates — or 189 votes — to automatically qualify for a primary. If his vote total falls short of that, he then would have to go the petition route and collect signatures to participate in a GOP primary.
Tom Foley of Greenwich, who lost a close election to Democrat Dannel P. Malloy in 2010, is favored to win the party nomination for governor. Most of the suspense is on whether Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton or state Senate Majority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield will get the needed 15% for a primary.
Lauretti is considered less likely to meet that threshold. A fourth candidate, former West Hartford Town Council member Joseph Visconti, has minimal support.
Could any deals be reached?
There’s also all the uncertainty of a convention, with the possibility that deals could be reached between candidates in the hours leading up to the nominating process.
Could Foley ask McKinney to run with him for lieutenant governor? Or might one of the second-tier candidates drop out of the race before nominations take place?
No one knows for sure what will happen on Saturday morning — or could have occurred in the late hours of Friday night.
On the Democratic side, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy accepted his party’s nomination to run for a second term on Friday.
Foley is a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland. He lost to Malloy by about 6,400 votes four years ago.
How many signatures to qualify?
If Lauretti doesn’t get 15% of the delegates and wants to pursue a primary, he would need to collect the signatures of 8,190 registered Republicans by June 10. That represents 2% of the registered Republicans in Connecticut as of last October, as required by state election law.
The official petitions the candidates would need to circulate now are available from the Secretary of the State’s office. The deadline for turning them in with the required number of signatures is 4 p.m. on June 10.
Primary Day this year is Aug. 12 in Connecticut.
Primaries possible in other races
In addition to qualifying for a primary through the petition process for statewide office or for a U.S. Congress seat, that option is available for candidates running for more local offices as well. This would be for candidates who don’t receive the support of at least 15% of the delegates at their nominating conventions.
Anyone wanting to join the primary via petition for a state Senate seat, state House of Representatives seat, or probate judge position, must collect signatures from at least 5% of the enrolled party members in a particular district.
Primary petitions for candidates for single-town state representative, probate judge and registrar of voters become available on May 21. Petitions for multi-town state legislative and probate judge districts become available on May 27.