New voters trending away from parties in Connecticut
A summer blockbuster this is not.
Despite multiple contested primaries less than a month away in this presidential election year, the fastest growing bloc of voters in Connecticut does not belong to Democrats or Republicans.
Since the beginning of the year, the number of unaffiliated voters added to the election rolls rivals newly registered Republicans and Democrats combined, according to the secretary of the state's office.
Unaffiliated voters account for 47 percent of new enrollees and 42 percent of the overall electorate in the state.
"I think it shows that in this era of hyperpartisanship the party that prevails politically must have a message that can appeal to unaffiliated voters," said Edward Krumeich Jr., the Democratic State Central Committee representative for the 36th senatorial district, which includes Greenwich, and parts of Stamford and New Canaan.
"The key to electoral success are the unaffiliated voters that are sitting there waiting there to be convinced."
As of June 27, there were 817,629 unaffiliated voters on the election rolls, compared to 720,859 Democrats and 411,111 Republicans.
The breakdown of new voters registered since the beginning of the year was 8,472 unaffiliated, 5,042 Democrats and 3,466 Republicans.
Among every age group, unaffiliated voters led in new registrations, followed by Democrats and Republicans.
The disparity between the two parties was the least pronounced among voters between the ages of 18 and 29 and 30 to 44.
"I leave it to the politicians to spin, but the numbers seem to clearly point to new voters shying away from being associated with the Democratic Party," said Fred DeCaro III, the Republican registrar of Greenwich.
Under Connecticut's closed primary system, only party registrants will be allowed to vote in the Aug. 14 contests.
State GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. reminded that unaffiliated voters can register with a party up until noon Aug. 13.
"People are now starting to focus on the primaries," Labriola said. "I predict a further uptick in our registration rolls going into the primaries Aug. 14."
The Greenwich registrars will hold a voter registration session from 4 to 8 p.m. July 31 in their offices at Town Hall, which is located at 101 Field Point Road.
Krumeich is optimistic that Democrats running for office will carry unaffiliated voters in the November election when the chips are on the table.
"It's no longer enough to simply be a member of a political party," Krumeich said. "You have to have a message and a candidate. I think we'll do very well in Connecticut."
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