Shelton alderman candidate redistricted into new ward

Matt McGee, a former and likely future Democratic candidate for Board of Aldermen, is now in a different ward after the city's redistricting plan moved the border between Ward 3 and Ward 4 one block, putting him a new ward.

Matt McGee, a former and likely future Democratic candidate for Board of Aldermen, is now in a different ward after the city's redistricting plan moved the border between Ward 3 and Ward 4 one block, putting him a new ward.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Redistricting of the four wards has one past and possibly future alderman candidate crying foul. 

Matt McGee, a Democrat who lost by only 37 votes in 2021 in his quest for an alderman seat in Ward 3, is now a resident of Ward 4, all thanks to a redistricting plan created by the registrars of voters office and approved Thursday by the Board of Aldermen. 

But McGee, and fellow Democrats, state that there is more to this redistricting than just following state law. The border adjustments pushed McGee out of a ward in which he says he was making inroads. 

"I've heard rumblings about redistricting me for the past year, so I'm not surprised,” McGee said. “It's still disappointing. 

McGee added that the district change “goes to show that when they talk about things like redistricting or even charter revision, and claim these changes will ‘increase voter choice,’ well, actions like this fly directly in the face of statements like that. And actions speak louder than words." 

Republican Registrar Pete Pavone and Democratic counterpart Janet Sabovik agreed on the final redrawing of the ward lines. 

“The goal was to fairly and evenly redistribute the population across the city,” said Pavone, adding that redistricting is required every 10 years and takes place after the U.S. Census, the last one coming in 2020. 

Sabovik agreed the district redrawing had been carried out with fairness and population distribution in mind.

The state Senate, House and Congressional districts experienced redistricting prior to last year’s election, and Pavone said the city redistricting needed to be complete prior to the coming municipal election on Nov. 7. 

“We put together what we determined is in the best interest of the city by spreading the population out evenly while trying to keep neighborhoods together,” Pavone added. 

Pavone had no comment on McGee’s allegations, saying the registrar office’s only rule is to try not to move a sitting alderman who is expected to seek reelection. 

Pavone said redistricting can be confusing for residents, which is why the office will send out red, white and blue cards to all households in October to inform them of their polling place. More information about the office’s push to educate the public on their polling locations will come this fall. 

McGee had failed in consecutive attempts to win a Ward 3 seat. But in the last municipal election, he finished only 37 votes behind incumbent Republican Cris Balamaci for the second seat. Board of Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr. finished as the highest vote recipient in the ward with 1,632 votes. 

The closest vote recipient in recent years was Democrat Patrick Jeanetti, who ended up 400 votes behind Balamaci in 1999. 

McGee now moves to Ward 4, where Republicans earned decisive victories over their Democratic opponents. On the final map, the border between wards was moved one street over in McGee's neighborhood, putting him now on the Ward 4 side of the line. 

Democratic Town Committee Chair Kevin Kosty said not everything done during the redistricting process was wrong, and he praised the goals of the registrars in balancing the numbers of voters and to less often break a street between voting districts. 

But Kosty admitted hearing rumors of Republican plans to use redistricting to move McGee from Ward 3 to Ward 4 to lessen his chances of winning, and maybe even prompt him not to run again. 

“That's exactly the kind of thinking that does not belong in a redistricting effort,” Kosty said.  

Republican Town Committee Chair Anthony Simonetti did not comment on the accusations. 

Kosty said he expects McGee to run in Ward 4 this November. Democrats Michelle Laubin and Amanda Kilmartin ran unsuccessfully in the last municipal election. 

“Many of our hardest working candidates from past years and most dedicated public servants, whether elected or not, are now in the fourth ward after redistricting,” Kosty said. “I intend to find all of them spots on our ballot this year as Shelton voters deserve to have the best our city can offer up for election.”