5th House District: Theories galore about Democratic primary
Hartford Courant Editorial
October 03, 2012
Was Brandon McGee's 153-vote victory over Leo Canty for the Democratic nomination in Connecticut's 5th state House District primary election Tuesday a referendum on teachers unions?
After all, Mr. McGee, a political newcomer, received a last-minute $38,000 contribution from the Greater New England Public School Alliance. The alliance is affiliated with reformer Michelle Rhee and a California-based group that advocates for school choice vouchers, charter schools and abolishing teacher seniority systems. Mr. Canty is a longtime labor leader and teachers union member.
Did the alliance's big contribution play a pivotal role?
Mr. McGee says volunteers, not special-interest money, won it for him. Mr. Canty is certain that extra McGee canvassing paid for by the alliance check paved his way to defeat.
Did Mr. McGee's narrow win reflect a split in labor's ranks, where Mr. Canty is said to have ruffled some feathers over the years?
Or does it illustrate a cleavage among Windsor Democrats, who outnumber Hartford Democrats about 5,000 to 3,000 in the district?
Mr. Canty is Windsor Democratic town chairman and the party-endorsed candidate who lobbied hard to get the legislature to redraw district lines to give Windsor its own state representative. But he lost an unexpected amount of hometown support to Hartford Democrat McGee in the first vote Aug. 14.
Or did Mr. McGee win Tuesday simply because his supporters outhustled the Canty brigades?
Most likely, each factor played a role in deciding the wildest, woolliest election in years. This was an election with two ties, two recounts, a voter thought to be dead who wasn't, a lost ballot and a rare court-ordered revote, which Mr. McGee, the underdog, won Tuesday.
What could top it? Only the unlikely victory of Republican nominee Paul Panos in the Democratic-dominated district on Nov. 6.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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