The Republican Party hasn’t won a statewide election in Connecticut since 2006. This year’s defeat has the party leadership questioning where it can improve the electoral process. Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. announced the formation of an Election Reforms Subcommittee earlier this month at a Republican State Central Committee meeting. He charged the 13-member committee to report its findings by Jan. 27. “I’ve placed no boundaries on the subcommittee,” Labriola said last week. “Everything’s on the table.” That means everything, including an open primary system that would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in choosing the Republican Party’s nominee. Former Gov. Lowell Weicker, a Republican-turned-independent, has been advocating for the Republican Party to switch to an open primary system for years.
In the mid-1980s, unaffiliated voters were briefly allowed to participate in Republican primaries, but the party reverted back to a closed system under former Gov. John G. Rowland.
“It may be time to consider boldly going where no one has gone before,” Labriola said. “We narrowly lost a statewide election which many felt we could have won. So it’s valid to examine our nominating process. If we broaden the scope of participation in that process, would that produce a stronger nominee?”
Republican Tom Foley lost to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by more than 28,000 votes this past November.