Waterford's Kathleen McCarty wins second term in 38th House District

Waterford and Montville voters chose retired teacher and school board member Kathleen McCarty to represent the 38th House District for a second two-year term in unofficial results Tuesday.

McCarty, 66, a Republican, bested her two opponents for the seat — former Labor Commissioner Sharon Palmer, a Democrat and labor advocate, and Green Party candidate Lauren Shaw, a 21-year-old UConn Avery Point senior.

A total of more than 6,600 people in the district, which comprises all of Waterford and two Montville precincts, voted for McCarty, giving her a win of more than half the electorate in a race with three candidates. Palmer drew second with an unofficial count of 4,985 votes -- about 40 percent -- and Shaw received just over 620 votes.

Total turnout in the race was more than 12,200 votes, including absentee ballots, about 70 percent of the approximately 17,600 registered voters in Waterford and the two Montville precincts.

McCarty framed her run for re-election as a second chance to work with Democrats in Hartford on education issues and public health. She blamed Democratic leadership in the legislature for promoting a state budget that made what she called unnecessary cuts to local education funding, and emphasized her legislative successes as a member of the Education and Public Health committees in the House.

McCarty, a Republican, was elected in 2014 to fill the vacant 38th District seat, long held by the Democrats.

Palmer, a former teacher's union president and member of Waterford's Representative Town Meeting, retired from the Malloy administration in last year and pitched her candidacy as a chance to return the House seat to Democratic control.

And Shaw, 21, got in the race to offer voters an alternative to the two major parties and to push for more Green Party support in future elections.

But the high-profile Democrat and the third-party candidate couldn't unseat McCarty, who celebrated her win at Waterford GOP headquarters Tuesday evening.

m.shanahan@theday.com

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