Of the two major-party nominating conventions starting Friday, the two-day Republican conclave at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville will be by far the more interesting and more likely to leave blood on the floor.
It will feature, of course, a spirited multi-candidate challenge to Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, front-runner in the polls for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, and an increasingly tense race for the Republican state treasurer endorsement between Timothy Herbst, first selectman of Trumbull, and Robert Eick, a Ridgefield investment executive.
Where there's competition — this time on the Republican side — give it oxygen.
By contrast, the Democratic state convention at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford threatens to be a snooze-fest, its long ticket of state incumbents, headed by re-election-seeking Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, without strong challenges at this stage.
Wednesday's Democratic First Congressional District nominating convention has a touch more Hollywood than the party's state gathering, with the appearance of Christopher J. Dodd to give a nominating speech for U.S. Rep. John B. Larson. Mr. Dodd, the former long-time U.S. senator from Connecticut, is the film industry's chief national spokesman.
Convention delegates endorse candidates for the general election, but any candidate who receives the votes of 15 percent or more of the delegates can force an August primary.
Conventions used to be the venue where party bosses and activists routinely manipulated delegates, fixed the ticket and stifled primary challenges to the endorsed candidate. It is less that way now, and that's good — although party leaders still would rather wrap up nominations for good before the convention adjourns.
This year, Republican State Chairman Jerry Labriola, not surprisingly, has pledged to try to avoid primaries, believing them to be divisive and a drain on campaign money.
But primary elections, whenever possible, are desirable from the voters' standpoint and for the health of our political system. More people have the opportunity to participate in selecting a party's nominees.
Primaries are a more authentic expression of popular will.