February 21, 2024
Biden, Trump to each face 3 competitors

President Joe Biden and former President Donald J. Trump each will face three competitors for their parties’ presidential nominations in Connecticut’s presidential primary on April 2.

Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas announced the qualifying candidates Friday: Democrats Biden, Dean Phillips, Cenk Uygur and Marianne Williamson, and Republicans Trump, Ryan Binkley, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.

State law sets an unusual threshold for making the presidential primary ballot in Connecticut: a candidate must be “generally and seriously advocated or recognized” by reports in the state or national media.

Whether or not Trump was complicit in the Jan. 6, 2021 uprising that delayed the certification of Biden’s victory and Trump’s loss in the 2020 election was irrelevant to his ballot status in Connecticut, Thomas said.

Thomas said her lawyers concluded that the only relevant question under Connecticut law was easily answered: Is Trump, who already is widely seen as the presumptive nominee, the subject of serious media attention?

Her lawyers examined whether Trump could be deemed ineligible to run due to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars from anyone who “engaged in insurrection” or gave “aid or comfort” to insurrectionists as a U.S. office holder.

“I asked them to research whether or not that was a decision that could be made by our office,” Thomas said. “It is not within our jurisdiction.”

Only a court could strike him from the ballot, she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments next month in Trump’s challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court deeming him ineligible to run The secretary of the state in Maine also has ruled him off its ballot.

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Given Connecticut’s limited statutory requirements, Thomas also overlooked the fact that Uygur does not meet a constitutional requirement: He must be a natural-born citizen. 

Uygur, who was born in Turkey and became a naturalized U.S. citizen after emigrating to the U.S. with his parents as a child, did not make the cut in South Carolina.

The other Democrats accepted by Thomas will be on the ballot in South Carolina. Phillips is a Minnesota congressman. Williamson is an author of self-help books who ran for president in 2020.

The GOP field is the same as South Carolina’s: Binkley, a pastor and businessman; DeSantis, the governor of Florida; Haley, a former ambassador and South Carolina governor; and Trump.

DeSantis and Haley finished a distant second and third behind Trump in the recent Iowa caucuses.

Trump could be on trial in a criminal case arising from the Jan. 6 riot when Republican voters in Connecticut go to the polls in April. He is charged with obstruction of an official proceeding.

The trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, though Trump’s lawyers are attempting to delay that trial and two others involving criminal charges against the former president until after the election.

The primary is the first election in which early in-person voting will be allowed in Connecticut.