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McGee Wins Historic 5th District Primary

Brandon McGee defeated Windsor's Leo Canty in the do-over Democratic primary in Hartford and Windsor's fifth district on October 2.

Seven weeks after the candidates first faced off in a primary to decide the Democratic party's nominee in the race for Marie Kirkley-Bey's soon-to-be-vacated seat in Windsor and Hartford's fifth district, Brandon Mcgee reigned victorious, defeating Windsor's Leo Canty by 153 votes.

McGee received 1,095 votes to Canty's 942 in a race that saw a significant increase in voter turnout Tuesday.

McGee won three of the five active voting districts in the primary, including Windsor's first district (L.P. Wilson), in which he received 182 votes to Canty's 156.

The first primary, held on August 14, ended in a tie between McGee and Canty with each candidate receiving 774 votes.

Following his win in the race he's called "a roller coaster ride" since the secretary of state scheduled the first of two recanvasses, McGee said he's simply overwhelmed.

"I feel overwhelmed, but I'm also interested in the challenges that lay ahead... I'm excited, but the work just started today," said the 28-year-old Hartford resident from his campaign headquarters on Main Street.

McGee gained 321 votes over his total in the August 14 primary; Canty gained 168.

Speaking from his campaign headquarters, McGee said he was able to make up ground, particularly in Windsor where Mayor Don Trinks (who finished third in the August 14 primary and split the Windsor vote) withdrew from the re-vote and threw his support behind Canty, by getting more voters to the polls and old-fashioned door knocking. A large part of the campaign's ability to get people to the polls, he said, was the fact that people became aware of the race during the hearing held in response to McGee's complaint filed in superior court.

"More people came out as a result of the hearing," McGee said. "More people took seriously my mantra: Every election matters; every vote counts."

"I have family members who said they didn't vote [on August 14]. I made sure I brought them to the polls, and they brought people... Members of my fraternity came out, youth, people who just believed in me."

Saying he can't remember sleeping over the last week and a half due to tireless campaigning, McGee contributes his gains in Windsor and Hartford to hardwork, contrary to what some may believe given the nearly $40,000 pumped into support of the Hartford candidate by The Great New England Public Schools Alliance (GNEPSA) last week.

Canty, who went from being named the winner of the primary by the secretary of state in August to losing the race Tuesday, said he believes the GNEPSA contribution was the deciding factor in the election.

"$38,000 over the last four days... We couldn't match it," said Canty from the Union Street Tavern Tuesday evening. "With 150 more votes than last time when we tied, that's $200 a vote," Canty added in reference to McGee's victory margin.

Moving forward, Canty, who has spent years working to get a Windsor Democrat elected to state office, said he's going to concentrate on enjoying life, and is counting down the days until Red Sox spring training begins in Florida, where he owns a home.

McGee says he's looking forward to getting to work and to "working with every person in our district."

"I look forward to working with the Windsor Democratic Town Committee and Leo Canty, who is a great person," he said.

McGee will face Republican candidate Paul Panos in the November 6 general election.

Catherine & Dennis October 03, 2012 at 10:25 PM
WR I couldnt agree more. Arrogance, unwillingness to have a simple workshop to discuss the debacle, Malloy handing out money like chicklets. I too was a life long Democrat before all of this, but though I am now Republican, I am looking for someone with common sense, the knowledge Government is of and by the people (yes, you should listen and comment not just check the clock for 3 minutes to speak while they all text one another), and someone that votes on what is right, not just party or as Al always advertises vote row A! I am tired and embarrassed by it too. In fact, I am considering a screen play and selling this whole mess to the networks as a comedy(we dont consider it funny but you just cannot make this stuff up) -no names changed -no innocent to protect. Sorry to go off subject too, I agree with Albert, this is Brandon's time in the spot light- Congratulations Brandon. Catherine
Mary Ann Overbaugh October 03, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The message of this primary win is to put all on alert...it will not be business as usual by the same group of stale politicians...they will be challenged on their record and behavior. Congratulations to the winner who made the system work at a very high level of integrity.
Teacher Mom October 03, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Kate, I don't generally talk back and forth with people on Patch because I find a lot of the conversation is not even civil, but I want you to know I can read quite well and I can also read between the lines. Mr. McGee is trying to downplay the impact of a last minute infusion of a large amount of cash from GNEPSA. That's a problem for me and that's why I won't be voting for him.
tchjjal October 04, 2012 at 03:34 AM
McGee won fair and square. The fact that you couldn't match his donations as Canty's campaign manager shouldn't cause you to have sour grapes!
Al Simon October 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
It is confounding how some people's interest blind them to the larger problem at hand. So the $48,000 (their filings amended the total upward) of outside money that bought the extra 150 votes for McGee is no problem to the folks who merely seek some kind of political retribution against Canty or myself. (By the way, it was Windsor that lost here.) You do realize, a company like DollarTree could also choose to spend money with "independent expenditures" to influence the outcome of, let's say, a town meeting, or budget referendum, or town elections, if they felt it would be in their interests. This type of money has no place in our elections. As for our town charter and the electoral process we have in Windsor. I have advocated change from the beginning. No elected office should be filled with a 90% chance of winning for just showing up. To change that, we need 6 votes on the Council to start charter reform.. The Republicans wont consider it because the quota of 4 seats they have lived on would be gone. They dont consider the possibility they could win elections on energy and a good message. Competition would make for better leaders.

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