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Bill to move up Connecticut presidential primary dies despite bipartisan support

Both parties said it was an opportunity for the state to play a bigger role in the presidential selection process.

HARTFORD, Conn. — State Democratic and Republican party leaders expressed surprise and disappointment Thursday after a bipartisan proposal to move up Connecticut's presidential primary died on the final night of the legislative session.

In a moment of political comity, the two major party chairpersons testified together in March, voicing enthusiastic support for moving the date from the last Tuesday in April to the first.

Both said it was an opportunity for Connecticut to play a bigger role in the presidential selection process and potentially attract candidates to campaign in the state, especially since neighboring New York and Pennsylvania would have had the same primary date.

“It was a notable moment of bipartisan unity,” Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo and Republican Party Chair Ben Proto said in a joint statement Thursday, a day after lawmakers adjourned the 2023 legislative session.

“Not only did we both speak in support of the legislation, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pledged their support,” they continued. “So we’re disappointed that although the bill passed the House, and was expected to pass the Senate easily, it never was brought to a vote there.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said in a statement that “unfortunately the bill had some opposition in the chamber and we didn't have time to debate the bill and pass it.”

Legislative records show the House of Representatives voted unanimously for the bill at 11:07 p.m., sending it to the Senate. Both the House and Senate adjourned at the midnight deadline.

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It's unclear whether lawmakers might be able to pass a similar bill during a special session, if one is called. DiNardo said that would likely have to happen before the end of 2023.

In the meantime, she predicted Connecticut voters will again face the prospect of not playing a consequential role in choosing the presidential contenders.

“It would have been exciting to be part of the process of picking our presidential candidates and I don't see that happening by the of April,” she said.


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