Rep. Brandon McGee will resign from the legislature this week to join Gov. Ned Lamont’s re-election campaign, the Hartford Democrat announced Tuesday.
McGee did not return a request for comment. However, in a series of Twitter posts Tuesday evening, he thanked constituents and announced his move to Lamont’s campaign.
“I have known Ned for years,” McGee wrote. “I’ve walked the streets of Hartford with him. He is someone I believe in, and someone we must continue to support to move our state forward and keep moving in the right direction. I can’t wait to get started.”
McGee is currently co-chair of the Housing Committee and is a former chair of the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. He was first elected to the legislature in 2012 following a razor-thin victory in the Democratic primary contest which forced a court battle and two recounts.
Lamont’s campaign manager, Dan Morrocco, said McGee would be Lamont’s political director, serving as a conduit between the campaign and communities and constituencies around the state.
“We are thrilled to have Brandon joining our team,” Morrocco said in an email. “A public servant with deep ties across the state, Brandon will be a welcome partner as we build on the progress of the past three years.”
McGee’s departure creates a second vacancy in the House Democratic caucus following the resignation of Rep. Caroline Simmons, who stepped down after being elected as Stamford’s mayor in November.
“It stinks,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said Tuesday when asked about McGee’s departure. “Simmons leaves and now Brandon. I’ll cry myself to sleep tonight. It’s hard.”
His departure will necessitate a third special election some time early this year. In addition to Simmons, Rep. Tony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, also recently resigned from the legislature, stepping down last week to focus on family and his restaurant business.
Ritter, a fellow Hartford resident, said he would miss McGee in the legislature.
“Brandon and I sorta grew up together in the legislature,” he said. “He came shortly after I arrived. We were very, very close. But I also know he’s been thinking about alternatives for awhile. He found something that excited him and I’m excited for him.”
Lamont, a Democrat, announced in November he would seek a second term as governor. The Republican field is less clear. Bob Stefanowski, Lamont’s 2018 opponent, is believed to be mulling another run and Themis Klarides, a former House Republican leader, has filed paperwork as a candidate. Meanwhile, Republican Susan Patricelli Regan, a former senior marketing executive from Granby, has filed paperwork to run for governor.