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.