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Recount, Possible Re-Vote Looms For State House Seat Covering Windsor, Hartford

Leo Canty, Brandon McGee In Dead Heat In 5th District


August 15, 2012

WINDSOR A longtime political insider and a 28-year-old making his first run for elected office are locked in a dead heat for the realigned 5thstate House District seat.

Leo Canty, Windsor's Democratic Town Committee chairman, and Brandon McGee, a political newcomer, each have 774 votes, according to the secretary of the state's office. Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks finished a distant third in the primary with 267 votes.

Canty, 59, the party-endorsed candidate and an officer with the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, also received the endorsement of several local unions and the backing of former U.S.Sen. Christopher Dodd, who stumped for him at a campaign event.

McGee, director of development for Urban Alliance in Hartford, received the backing of Hartford's delegates in the district, which was realigned to give Windsor a majority of the Democratic voting population. The district is now composed of about 5,000 voters in the southern part of Windsor and 3,000 voters in Hartford's North End.

Canty was at the forefront of the effort to give Windsor its first Democratic House majority seat in more than 30 years, lobbying legislators as they worked on federally mandated redistricting. He also spent months canvassing the district by car, bicycle and truck to gain voter support.

Ted Bromley of the secretary of the state's office said Wednesday that his office was drafting a letter to the town clerks in Windsor and Hartford, notifying them they must recount the ballots no later than next Tuesday.

If the race is still a tie after the recount, the towns will hold another primary vote on Sept. 4, Bromley said.

The candidates could also agree to forgo the recount and and go straight to a new vote, Bromley said. The ballot would include Trinks unless he asks to have his name removed from the ballot, Bromley said.

Trinks said that he would not agree to forgo the recount and added that he would ask to have his name removed from the ballot if there is another vote.

Canty said Wednesday that he thoughtseveral factors played into McGee's better-than-expected showing, including low voter turnout in Windsor; higher turnout in Hartford as a result of a Democratic registrar of voters primary; and McGee's strong finish in two Windsor districts, losing by less than 50 votes in each.

Trinks' presence in the race also stripped votes from him, Canty said.

"I told him he could be a spoiler in all this but he decided to run anyway," Canty said. "He demonstrated a high level of political naivete."

Trinks, who is in his sixth term as mayor, sad he ran for the seat because he felt it was time for him to take on a different challenge. He also said it was incorrect and unfair to assume that people who voted for him would have voted for Canty if he wasn't on the ballot.

Canty, who believed he was behind by one vote until Hartford released its unofficial numbers after midnight Tuesday, said Wednesday that he would prefer to skip the recount and go straight to another vote.

The manner in which the tie came about was in dispute Wednesday. Canty's campaign said he received an additional absentee ballot vote when Hartford released its numbers, but McGee's camp said their candidate's absentee ballot count was reduced by one when the numbers were released.

Registrars in Hartford Wednesday added another twist when they said the vote totals they released to the public around 12:30 a.m. never changed, and that the totals wouldn't be official until they were certified and sent to the secretary of the state's office Wednesday afternoon.

In a release Wednesday, McGee said he was honored to run against Canty and Trinks and that he looked forward to a resolution of the vote tally and working for residents of the 5th House District.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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