Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, an Indian American, has been forced out of the crowded race for Connecticut Governor’s office, as he failed to secure a slot in the GOP primary in the race to become the state’s next governor at the Republican Party Convention attended by 1,150 delegates at the Foxwoods Resorts Casino in Mashantucket on May 12.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, 54, was declared winner at the third ballot out of a field of eight candidates. Boughton is expected to easily win the primary and then face off against the Democratic nominee in a bid to regain the seat held by Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy for the past eight years. He now faces a primary in August, most probably with five other candidates — three of whom received sufficient votes to overcome the threshold and two who bypassed the state convention.
A four-term Republican Connecticut state legislator, Srinivasan, 68, of Glastonbury was eliminated after falling below the required 8 percent threshold in the first ballot at the state Republican Party Convention. He missed meeting the threshold by a whisker, garnering 7.94 percent of the delegates’ votes.
Srinivasan had entered the race more than a year ago, raising a significant amount of money much to the surprise of many analysts. Srinivasan had been among the wave of candidates who expressed a desire to run for governor and set up an exploratory committee in late 2016. By the time he entered the race on Dec. 16, he announced that in his first quarter he had raised more than $138,000
Four months after the Sandy Hook School shootings on December 2012, which killed 20 children and six staffers, Srinivasan was among 25 Republican lawmakers who supported one of the country’s toughest gun control laws passed by the Connecticut legislature. At the time, Srinivasan, an allergist-immunologist in Hartford, who represents the state’s 31st District, supported the legislation. But five years later, after he declared his candidacy for governor, he said he regretted his vote. “When I look at it now, I’m realizing more and more that it is the person behind these objects that can be used to bring about the massacres,” he told the Hartford Courant.
Then in a discussion with members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the state’s largest grass-roots gun owners group, Srinivasan said he believed Connecticut had not done enough to expand mental health services and fortify security at the state’s schools, according to the Courant. Both provisions were an integral part of the omnibus legislation passed in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook killing.
“We could pass all the laws we want. But when something falls into the wrong hands … that’s the thing we need address,” he said. He pledged that he would sign a bill repealing that law if he was elected governor.
Jeremy Stein, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence said Srinivasan’s change of heart was clearly an indication that he was pandering to a key interest group like the NRA to win the GOP nomination. Stein said that this law had been instrumental in saving lives thanks to background checks and other provisions.
According to Hartford Courant: “The better explanation for his sudden change of heart (on gun laws) is that Mr. Srinivasan is trying to separate himself from a crowded field of Republican contenders for the governor’s office by laying claim to the pro-gun contingent. That’s a shameless repudiation of one’s professed principles for political gain. It’s a betrayal of the values we hold close, and it’s a betrayal of the constituents who voted him into office. Mr. Srinivasan has shown his true colors as an opportunist who cares more for political advancement than for the citizens, and children, of the state of Connecticut.”