Wikimedia Commons

Less than a week remains before the Hartford Democratic contenders face off in what is set to be a contentious mayoral primary.

Three democratic candidates will appear on the primary ballot — State Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, and former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez will challenge incumbent Luke Bronin ’01 LAW ’06.

“Over the past three years, we brought our city from bankruptcy to stability,” Bronin said on his campaign website. “We’ve got lots of work left to do. But we’ve got momentum, and can’t afford to slow down now.”

Before assuming the city’s top job in 2016, Navy veteran Bronin previously served as general counsel for then-Gov. Dannel Malloy. Although he briefly considered a bid for governor of the Nutmeg State in 2018, his exploratory committee found that he did not have enough traction to have a shot at victory. On his campaign website, Bronin credits his administration with bringing the city from potential bankruptcy to financial stability, attracting business back to Hartford and creating the Youth Service Corps to provide work opportunities using private funding.

Bronin received an endorsement from the capital city’s Democratic Town Committee and has outperformed his opponents in fundraising — recently surpassing $1,000,000 in campaign contributions. If re-elected, Bronin plans to revitalize city neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for Hartford residents.

Perez, the former Hartford mayor, was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Hartford as a teenager. He previously served as mayor for nearly a decade — from 2001 until the time of his resignation in 2010. During his time in office, Perez and his administration were credited with increasing home ownership, reducing crime and reigniting economic development in the city. Yet Perez resigned after pleading guilty to corruption charges, which were subsequently overturned. In a separate criminal case, Perez pleaded guilty to bribery and larceny by extortion charges. Perez was the city’s first Latino mayor.

“I made a big mistake, a very big mistake and I am sorry,” Perez said in an NBC interview this April. “I let down many people … I also want to be judged on everything else that I’ve done, the good things I’ve done.”

Perez’s platform centers around fixing roads and city services, improving education and providing more opportunities for young people and small businesses. If Perez falls behind next week, he plans to run in the general election.

McGee, the state representative and chairman of the House’s Black and Puerto Rican caucus, is a Hartford native and considers himself a community activist. He has been a strong proponent of criminal justice reform and investing in education. His platform focuses on saving city assets, supporting local schools and attracting and supporting small businesses in Hartford.

“Now is the time that I’ve decided to run,” McGee said. “Our city is in dire need.”

Television entrepreneur J. Stan McCauley is a Democrat who will run as a Republican because he was endorsed by the Republicans, so he will not appear on the democratic primary ballot. Craig Stallings, a member of the Hartford school board, former security guard Andre Thompson and author and publisher Aaron Lewis are all Democrats that will not appear on the primary ballot but are running in the general election.

The primary will take place next Tuesday.

Ali Bauman | .