“Rocky” grabs top spot on Conn. primary ballot over Clinton, Sanders
11 Mar

“Rocky” grabs top spot on Conn. primary ballot over Clinton, Sanders

Connecticut is having a “Yo, Adrian” moment.

The top spot of the state’s Democratic presidential primary ballot won’t go to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but Rocky.

Not Balboa, but San Diego businessman and overshadowed candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who was the beneficiary Tuesday of a random drawing by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill for ballot position. The names of Clinton and then Sanders will appear beneath De La Fuente’s for the April 26 primary.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will go first on the Republican ballot, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Carson suspended his campaign earlier this month, but has yet to request the removal of his name from the ballot.

Political experts downplayed the ballot order for both primaries, except in the case of the candidate often referred to as just Rocky.

“He’s the only guy who will get more votes than he otherwise would have,” said Jerold Duquette, an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

De La Fuente qualified for the primary ballot by collecting signatures from 7,700 registered Democrats in the state. He was required to get 7,100 names, which represents 1 percent of the Democratic Party enrollment in Connecticut.

Connecticut moved its primary back to the last Tuesday in April for the 2012 presidential election, ending its brief tie-in with 24 other states in Super Tuesday in early February in 2008. That year, Barack Obama edged Clinton in the Constitution State’s Democratic primary. In 2012, Mitt Romney had effectively wrapped up the GOP nomination by the time Connecticut’s Republican primary was held.

Both Democrats and Republicans use a proportional system in Connecticut to award delegates to candidates competing in each party’s primary.

“This has been an exciting election with a lot of interest and it looks like it will remain competitive for a long while yet,” Merrill said. “Connecticut will make its voice heard in the democratic process on April 26. However to cast your ballot in the April primary you must be registered with a party. If you are a new or unaffiliated voter, it is not too late.”

Primary voters tend to be entrenched in their allegiances to a candidate, according to Duquette, who said ballot position counts for more in a general election.

“Nobody goes into a primary not knowing who they’re going to vote for,” Duquette said.

Duquette said it’s unlikely that Clinton’s and Sanders’ campaign will try to TKO Rocky.

“I think it would be a ridiculous for them to make an issue about it,” he said.

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