While some candidates for governor officially launched bids over a year ago, Decision 2018 officially starts Friday.
With the opening of the Connecticut Republican Party State Convention, we are going to see the first real election news as we see who the GOP thinks should be considered for all of the state's constitutional offices.
You need to be paying attention because Republicans could very well be the party in power in state government next year, and the convention provides windows into what they might want to do if they control all of Connecticut's levers of government.
The governor's race is the most watched, by far. With Gov. Dannel Malloy not seeking reelection, it leaves an open governor's seat and a wide open field of about 15 legitimate candidates on each side of the aisle, and the Republican field encompasses more than two-thirds of that group.
In order for a Republican candidate to make it on to the August primary ballot, a candidate must emerge with at least 15 percent of Republican Convention delegates.
There is little reliable polling data to suggest who can be considered a favorite to reach the August primary (that doesn't include candidate-sponsored polls. Nothing quite says, "favorite," like a poll you've paid for saying you're the favorite).
For many in the state of Connecticut, they will be hearing the names of candidates for the first time who are looking to be their governor. The Republican Convention will be the party's formal introduction in 2018 to voters trying to convince them that the GOP will do a better job of running the state than Democrats.
Whoever emerges from the convention, whether it's three candidates or five candidates, those individuals will provide the closest version of the future of Connecticut government for voters to examine.
The problem is, that group can run the gamut of partisan ideology. A field of five candidates, on its own, could have candidates looking to cozy up as close to President Donald Trump as possible, while others may be looking to moderate toward the middle.
It's hard to tell which version of a Republican will be the most electable in Connecticut.
Some candidates have said the state needs to eliminate union influence by becoming a “Right to Work,” state. Others have said they plan to eliminate the income tax. These are ideas that may work great at a convention or in a primary, but in a general election, they might not play as well.
The convention season starts Friday and will provide voters with their first broad look as to what they can expect when they hit the polls later this summer.