Updated 11:13 p.m. Thursday, April 10, with Bruce Morris comment.
NORWALK, Conn. – A pair of announced Norwalk Democratic candidates for state representative have raised enough money to qualify for state funding, according to their April 10 financial reports.
Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, who is running for the seat being vacated by Larry Cafero (R-142) and former Common Council member Warren Peña, who is challenging fellow Dem Bruce Morris in the 140th district, announced Thursday that they had cleared the threshold of raising $5,000 from 150 Norwalk contributors.
Garfunkel has no current opposition for the Democratic Party nomination.
“We are pleased to have reached our fund-raising goal so quickly. We’ve seen overwhelming local support for Andy,” Garfunkel 2014 Treasurer Christopher Potts said.
Garfunkel, who was elected Norwalk Town Clerk for five consecutive terms before making a bid for higher office, has expressed his desire to work on the issues that are of utmost importance in revitalizing Norwalk, New Canaan and all of Connecticut to ensure that we fully benefit from the slowly recovering economy.
“I am very much looking forward to talking about a more comprehensive approach with voters,” he said, “and am excited to be moving on to that phase of the campaign.”
Garfunkel attended the University of Bridgeport, majoring in Theatrical Design. He owned and operated his own home remodeling business in Fairfield and Westchester counties for over 15 years before serving as Norwalk’s Town Clerk from 2001-2011. He is currently a licensed real estate agent with William Raveis in Norwalk and a free-lancing technician with both the Studio Mechanics and Stage Employees Unions in the tri-state area. Garfunkel ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 2011 against Republican incumbent Richard Moccia and was fourth in a four-way primary for the Democratic mayoral nomination last fall.
Peña’s challenge to a fellow Democrat could set the stage for an August primary.
“It’s exciting,” Peña said in a press release. “For being officially in the race for such a short time, I am extremely humbled by the overwhelming support and positive feedback we have received. This sends a clear message that the people feel South Norwalk and Central Norwalk deserve better representation in Hartford and that it is time to move forward. The same politics that have presided over places like South Norwalk for decades have caused too much damage to our neighborhoods, our schools and our kids.”
Peña announced that his campaign has raised over $5,000 from 162 total donors last quarter, 150 of which are from Norwalk, to qualify for a state grant of $27,850.
Morris, who has spent much of his time in Hartford for thepast several weeks as the legislature has been in session, said Thursday night that he expects to reach the $5,000 plateau soon.
“Elections are about choices,” he said in an email to NancyOnNorwalk. “I am very proud of my legislative record. In terms of qualifying for state funding, I am focused on fulfilling my legislative responsibilities on behalf the 140th District electors during the current session, which ends on May 5. However, as of the recent submitted filing, I am honored that $4,200 was contributed by 195 people, of whom 135 live in Norwalk. Given this accomplishment, achieved since March 20, I anticipate reaching the required fundraising goals.”
This is Peña’s first time running for state office. He served as an at-large councilman from 2011-2013 and is currently chairman of the South Norwalk Community Center.
“Our campaign is very encouraged at the response from family, friends, community and Democratic party leaders,” Peña said. “The political landscape is at an unprecedented time here in Norwalk. A movement started when I became involved in Norwalk politics a few years ago; I look forward to continuing that movement and working hard in order to represent the district I was born and raised in.”