If Republican attorney general candidates Arthur J. O’Neill and Ross Garber qualify for a primary at today’s GOP State Convention, it might depend on how much coffee they can pump into their supporters.

Delegates, already weary from the opening day battle over the U.S. Senate nomination that wasn’t resolved until after 11 p.m., streamed into the Connecticut Convention Center carrying coffee cups, or lining up out the doorway at a nearby Starbucks.

Unfortunately for Garber and O’Neill, who both entered the race this past week – giving Avon lawyer Martha Dean a two-month head start in the search for delegates – the vote for attorney general is the last of six nominating contests on the convention agenda.

So what happens if delegates, worn out from a long Friday and disappointed if their gubernatorial choice loses today, want to leave before the attorney general vote?

“It may well depend on who stays,” said O’Neill, a state representative from Southbury, who joked it might take a “bucket brigade” of coffee from a nearby shop but he was determined to keep his supporters in the convention center.

“People know they are hiring a lawyer for the state today,” Garber, an attorney from Glastonbury, said, adding that’s a pretty important reason for Republicans to wait out a long afternoon. “I’m spending all of my time taking to as many delegates as I can.”

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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