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Probate Judge Candidates Court Voters

Michael Murray and Christopher McClancy are touting their legal acumen and experience to voters. Although the two candidates met in a debate Thursday night for the newly combined Darien-New Canaan Probate Court judge seat, their words were tame in comparison to the General Assembly debates that preceded their turn in the spotlight.

"I know it's a very collegial atmosphere, but we are running a race here, so I do want to shamelessly ask for your vote on Nov. 2," said Murray, the Republican candidate. "I do feel I have the necessary qualities" for the job.

Murray said it takes legal and administrative experience as well as intellect to do the job. "I'd like to think I have the even temperament necessary to preside over the sensitive matters that come before the court," he said. "You really have to display the right temperament."

McClancy, an independent candidate, said it's important for a probate judge to understand the law as well as the circumstances that bring people to the court. "A probate judge can perform weddings, but that's usually the only joyous occasion that brings individuals to a probate court," he said. "People coming to probate court are going through the worst times in their lives, and the judge has to understand that."

Probate court handles such matters as trusts, estates, wills, guardians, conservators, civil commitments, parental rights and adoptions, among other issues.

The positions were combined after state officials decided to consolidate probate courts to save money. Current New Canaan Probate Judge Russell Kimes opted not to run for the combined position and will retire in January.

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