What to watch for at the CT Republican convention

MASHANTUCKET — Bob Stefanowski is expected to win the endorsement of the Republican State Convention on Friday, but will get some resistance from a Granby woman who has a meager $2,300 in her campaign war chest.

The Australian-born Susan D. Patricelli Regan, a marketing consultant and founder of two charities who first filed her intention to run for governor in February 2021, is set to be nominated Friday night, as 1,300 GOP delegates start their quadrennial, two-day nominating convention for top-of-the-ticket candidates at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket.

Patricelli Regan is unlikely to win the 15-percent support needed to seek a primary challenge against Stefanowski, who lost the 2018 race for governor to Ned Lamont and has loaned his campaign $10 million.

So unlike the 2018 convention that nominated then-Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who lost to Stefanowski in a five-way primary, the former corporate executive and business consultant from Madison essentially has a clear field to become the top-of-the-ticket candidate with state Rep. Laura Devlin, his personal choice for lieutenant governor, without a potentially expensive and politically divisive August primary campaign.

But the real drama will be the four-way jockeying for the US Senate nomination.

“We’re looking forward to a fun and exciting convention Friday and Saturday, nominating a great team of Republicans,” state Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto, of Stratford, said in an interview. “We will have our entire Republican team together and look forward to a great victory in November.”

The convention will be in two parts. On Friday night, delegates will be called by congressional district to first endorse uncontested candidates Jessica Kordas, of Norwalk, for attorney general, and state Rep. Harry Arora, of Greenwich, for treasurer, followed by Stefanowski, according to the state party schedule.

Capping the evening will be the endorsement of Devlin to be his lieutenant governor running mate and a likely greeting from the top-of-the-ticket team.

On Friday night and into Saturday morning, various meeting rooms in the sprawling casino complex will become locations for parties thrown by candidates with hopes for contested seats seeking support for the floor fights expected on Saturday.

On Saturday, the nomination process will begin for candidates to challenge US Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Themis Clarides, of Madison, the former minority leader of the state House of Representatives; Leora Levy, of Greenwich, a major GOP contributor and member of the Republican National Committee; Peter Lumaj, of Fairfield, a conservative who has failed in campaigns for Senate and governor in the last three statewide election cycles; and Robert Hyde, of Simsbury.

Candidates who reach the 15-percent threshold soon have to decide whether they want to pursue primary challenges.

Later in the afternoon, delegates will first choose between two candidates for comptroller. Mary Fay, a West Hartford financial executive, will have a last-minute challenger, Patrick Rowland, of East Haven, who filed his candidacy Wednesday with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The penultimate convention action features a secretary of the state field that includes sixth-term state Rep. Terrie Wood, of Darien; Brock Weber, of Wolcott, a top assistant for New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart; and Dominic Rapini, of Guilford, an unsuccessful 2018 hopeful for US Senate.

The convention will close with a speech from Stefanowski aimed at energizing the party for the fall campaign. The latest voter registration figures in the Secretary of the State’s office, from last October, shows 463,656 active Republicans, 825,286 Democrats and 930,963 unaffiliated voters.

During the week of May 16, local delegates from throughout the state will nominate candidates for General Assembly and Judge of Probate.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: KenDixonCT

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