Shawn Olstein ’22
Luke Bronin won the Democratic primary election for mayor of Hartford on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Bronin, the incumbent mayor, won by a large margin of approximately 59% of the vote. His opposition, Trinity alum Eddie Perez ’96 and Brandon McGee, each claimed around 27% and 14% of the vote, respectively, according to The Hartford Courant.
The Courant reported that Bronin won 20 out of 24 precincts with the remaining four going to Perez. The total number of votes cast was 9,117 with Broning winning 5,386, Perez winning 2,461, and McGee winning 2,461. The Courant reported that turnout was much lower than it had been in the previous mayoral election with only 19% of eligible Democrats in the city turning out to vote. In 2015, 26% of Democrats participated in the primary election.
During the campaign, Mayor Bronin emphasized his stabilization of the city’s weak finances, a task he considered his main accomplishment. Facing a $65 million projected deficit in the city’s budget, Bronin explored the option of filing the city for bankruptcy, however, he managed to avoid this option through budget cuts, union concessions, and a financial aid package from three Hartford based insurers and a state bailout. This bailout came with an agreement of greater oversight of the city’s finances. During the campaign, Bronin also highlighted the various new programs he started as mayor, such as the Youth Service Corps which strives to help young Hartford residents find work through community service projects. According to the Courant, Bronin also emphasized the creation of a re-entry center at city hall designed for people returning from prison. Bronin was criticized by both of his opponents, who claimed the incumbent mayor had not done enough to help Hartford’s impoverished neighborhoods, and instead worked for a development expansion downtown. The Courant also reported criticism towards Bronin for his exploratory run for governor of Connecticut and frequently labeled the “Greenwich-raised politician” as an exploiter of his position as mayor to achieve a higher political position in the future. Bronin cited his passion for serving the interests of Hartford in defense of his exploratory run for governor. According to the Courant, Bronin will serve another full term as a mayor.
Eddit Perez ’96, former Hartford mayor between 2001 and 2010, was Mayor Bronin’s most significant opponent. A longtime Hartford resident, Perez has spent his life in the city and worked as a community organizer in several Hartford neighborhoods before entering politics. In 2010, Perez was forced out of office after facing corruption charges. The Courant reported that Perez began his campaign by asking voters to forgive him for his “selfish mistakes.”
Brandon McGee, a representative of parts of Hartford and Windsor in the Connecticut General Assembly, emphasized his background as a local Hartford resident throughout the primary candidacy. He began his campaign outside the apartment complex on Barbour Street where he grew up. Despite this strategy, he failed to obtain any of the precincts on election night. Current Trinity student Matthew Rivera ’20 ran as constable on McGee’s ticket.
As of 2017, the Connecticut Secretary of State has reported 41,266 registered Democrats in Hartford, making that the overwhelming majority party of the city, ensuring that Bronin is likely to be reinstated as mayor during the mayoral election upcoming in November.