Eight delegates selected by the Wilton Republican Town Committee attended the GOP State Convention at Foxwoods Resorts and Casino May 11-12 as representatives for Wilton in the 4th Congressional District. With 2018 being a pivotal year for Connecticut, the delegates were eager to cast their votes for the candidates best suited to course-correct the state’s spiral into financial ruin.
The excitement in the air was palpable as delegates and candidates waited for the opening bang of the gavel on Friday, May 11. First, a major change in the candidate slate was announced – New Britain candidate for governor, Erin Stewart, would be dropping out of the race for governor and instead running for lieutenant governor. Shortly after the announcement, the convention officially opened with nominations for the 2nd Congressional District race. Next came announcements for the 4th Congressional District. Wilton delegates were thrilled when Harry Arora won the party nomination to challenge the incumbent Democrat, Jim Himes. Arora is a first-generation American and successful investment banker.
Senate, attorney general and secretary of state nominations came before the dinner break.
The three senate candidates included: Joe Visconti, a trained-actor backed by Corey Lewandowski; Dominic Rapini, a graduate of Trinity College and tech industry executive; and Matthew Corey, owner of McKinnon’s Irish Pub in downtown Hartford. Corey came away with the endorsement. Rapini had enough votes to qualify for the primary but was not yet ready to announce his decision regarding next steps. The winner would challenge Democrat, Chris Murphy.
[UPDATE] Rapini Commented “We will announce Monday (May 21st) our intention which reflects what is best for Connecticut GOP and that which reflects the outpouring of support from hundreds of delegates and GOP supporters”
[UPDATE: May 21] Dominic Rapini announces “I am planing to continue my race for United States Senate” in the Connecticut Republican primary!
Sue Hatfield won the party’s endorsement for attorney general. Hatfield defeated John Shaban, an attorney in Redding and former state representative.
Secretary of State
Susan Chapman was the only candidate for secretary of state and therefore was the default endorsed candidate.
On Saturday, May 12, the convention reconvened at 8:30 a.m. with voting for comptroller, treasurer and governor.
Kurt Miller, the First Selectman from Seymour, beat out Mark Greenberg for the party endorsement.
Thad Gray, a successful investment banker, who was able to narrowly beat Art Linares for the party nomination after only one round of voting.
During the lunch break, speculation abounded because the governor field was wide open, leaving many to wonder who else would drop down to lieutenant governor.
After lunch, delegates settled on governor nominations. This was followed by a long afternoon of multiple rounds of voting. In the first round, Mike Handler of New Canaan and the only physician, Prasad Srinivasan, were knocked out. Prasad missed by just one vote. Mayors Mark Boughton of Danbury and Tim Herbst of Trumbull were guaranteed a spot on the primary ballot after they received more than 15 percent of the vote in the first round.
Dave Walker, Mark Lauretti and Peter Lumaj were knocked out in the second round. Veteran, engineer and high-tech job creator, Steve Obsitnik, received over 17 percent of the vote, guaranteeing him a spot on the primary ballot.
The third round of voting dragged on as votes switched and the delegates were reluctant to support a motion to close the voting. Eventually, the round went to Mark Boughton, who was able to lock down more than 50 percent of the vote and with it, the party endorsement.
Surprisingly, the lieutenant governor ballot ended after just one vote, with Joe Markey receiving the endorsement. Jayme Stevenson qualified to primary and intends to. Former gubernatorial candidate, Erin Stewart, also did receive enough to primary, thus closing out the Convention at 8:15 p.m.
The primary election will be held on August 14. Some candidates have chosen to bypass the convention and will be participating by gathering the required number of signatures.
The Wilton RTC is proud to have been able to contribute to forming a strong ballot of candidates who bring concrete ideas to address the serious challenges facing Connecticut. The state is ranked dead last in economic growth and is drowning in debt. The Wilton RTC is looking forward to a great election season and providing opportunities for Wiltonians to meet the candidates and learn more about how we can Save Connecticut.