The Hartford Courant has endorsed House Minority Leader Denise Merrill in the Democratic Primary for state Secretary of State in a race that will likely leave two very capable, qualified and hard-working public servants on the outside looking in.

Merrill first won the party’s endorsement at the convention which eventually led to the departure of state Sen. Jonathan Harris from the race. Anyone who has worked with or even knows Harris hopes he finds a way to stay involved in public service. He was known as an intelligent, hard-working, consensus builder in the senate and as a chairman of the legislature’s public health committee.

Now, Merrill faces a primary against New Haven’s Gerry Garcia, also a capable, accomplished former Board of Alderman member in New Haven. Garcia, with an MBA from Yale, would be a fine secretary of state. But as the Courant points out, he is one step behind Merrill.

The winner of the secretary of state general election replaces longtime office-holder Susan Bysiewicz. Regardless of what one thinks of Bysiewicz’ as an ambitious office-seeker, she was an effective and energetic secretary of state. Merrill will make a fine replacement.