Rep. O’Neill Testifies in Support of Legislation to Eliminate Political Party Convention Requirements

Posted on March 25, 2019 by admin


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State Representative Arthur O’Neill (R-69) today testified before the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) in support of his proposal to eliminate the requirement for political parties to hold nominating conventions.

HB 5041- An Act Concerning Major Party Conventions – would eliminate the requirement for political parties to hold state or district conventions, as applicable, for the purpose of choosing a candidate for nomination to any state or district office. The bill would not prohibit political parties from holding a convention if they chose to do so provided they conformed with applicable law and do not choose more than one candidate for nomination to any office.

“The integrity of our elections remains of absolute importance to the people of Connecticut and this legislation would allow a more equitable process for every candidate, regardless of political party,” Rep. O’Neill said. “This bill has the potential to truly level the playing field.”

Connecticut is in the minority of states with respect to how candidates are selected. The political convention was originally created in the 1830s and in most parts of the country has been superseded by the primary process for many decades. For many years, the convention seemed to serve the best interest of the voters of the state of Connecticut. Since 2006, however, it has become clear that the convention is an expensive and time-consuming hoop through which candidates must jump.

“In the most recent statewide election, a large number of candidates for governor spent, collectively, well in excess of $1 million on those efforts, Rep. O’Neill said. “Half of the candidates failed to get the necessary support to qualify for the primary, and yet each of them spent in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars talking to a small group of convention delegates rather than addressing the general public. Another problem is that the convention process encourages the kind of wheeling and dealing and insider baseball that has very little, if anything, to do with choosing the best candidate.”