Ganim Presses for Inclusion in Rell Center Candidates Forum

This article originally appeared in The Hartford Courant.

Democratic Joe Ganim is asking organizers of a gubernatorial forum scheduled for Thursday night to postpone the event so he and other petitioning candidates can participate.

“It is hard to understand how organizations dedicated to educating the voters about the primary process would schedule such a forum before the Secretary of the State’s office certifies all the candidates for governor in mid-to-late June,” Ganim wrote in a letter to Leslie Smith, director of the M. Jodi Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford and Jerry Franklin, president and CEO of Connecticut Public Broadcasting, the two organizers of the forum.

"With the primary not until August 14, rather than only promoting candidates endorsed by party insiders, this event should either be rescheduled or petitioning candidates should be allowed to participate. Allowing it to continue as planned does a disservice to Connecticut voters,’’ Ganim said.

Organizers decided weeks ago that only candidates who received enough support at the state party conventions to qualify for the primaries would be invited to participate.

“Based on the criteria developed by the Rell Center and shared with all candidates weeks in advance of the state conventions, the four participants will be the Democratic and Republican endorsed candidates for Governor, Ned Lamont and Mark Boughton, and two candidates who qualified for the primary without petitioning, Tim Herbst and Steve Obsitnik,’’ Smith wrote to Ganim.

“In fairness to these candidates who have met the criteria we had specified and shared with your campaign, we will be conducting the event on June 7th as planned. While we empathize with your disappointment, we ask you to understand that we are structuring this program to give voters an early opportunity to learn about those candidates who qualified at the conventions with the understanding that there will be more than sufficient time and several upcoming broadcast debates to learn about candidates who might ultimately qualify by petition for the November ballot,’’ Smith said.

In addition to Ganim, at least four other candidates — Republicans David Stemerman, Bob Stefanowski and Mark Lauretti and Democrat Guy Smith — are collecting signatures to win a spot on the primary ballot.

 

This article originally appeared in The Hartford Courant.