Duff looking to be state Senate majority leader

Norwalk Manresa Island 121813 168
State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) talks to the press recently.

By Christine Stuart and Nancy Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – The fall election season is months away, but state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) has his sights set on votes that won’t be cast in Norwalk.

Duff, who is serving his fifth term in the state Senate, said he is looking to become majority leader next fall, assuming he wins re-election.

“Over the last two years it’s something that I have been interested in and have worked quietly to build support amongst the caucus,” he said.

Sen. President Donald Williams (D-Brooklyn) announced earlier this week that he wouldn’t seek re-election in the 29th District this year, which will open up his leadership position in the Senate. Duff has been waging a quiet campaign for majority leader even though he was unaware change was in the air.

Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said Duff has a strong working relationship with a lot of the senators.

“He’s a consensus builder, he’s pragmatic, and he’s a good leader,” Bye said Friday.

She said she thought Duff and current Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, who also is interested in succeeding Williams, would make a good a good team. She thought they would play well off each other.

Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, who sometimes commutes with Duff to the state Capitol, said he would make a “great majority leader.”

Duff chairs the Energy and Technology Committee and is often times asked to fill in for Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who presides over the Senate, when she’s unavailable.

“He’s approachable and easy to work with,” Slossberg said.

Bye called Looney and Duff the “Dream Team” for the Senate Democratic caucus.

One Norwalk Republican said Duff still has to win the local election.

NancyOnNorwalk asked Pete Torrano, who is expected to become Norwalk Republican Town Committee chairman this month, if Duff’s reputed frontrunner status as the next state Senate majority leader would make it difficult for a challenger from either party.

“Good question,” Torrano said in an email. “On first thought,  I would have to say ‘yes’ only because it will get his name in the press and allow him a pulpit from which to campaign and present himself as important in the senate. However, Bob still has to run on his record, and it should be that that any challenger, either side of the aisle should address. I would also have to believe that others would want that title, and I’m not so sure Bob is the favored person among his peers in the senate, and may lose out to someone else.”

Duff has a challenger in his own party as 19-year-old political newcomer Israel Navarro has filed papers to run against him.

Duff said it’s too early to speculate on what his majority leader status, if he gets it, would mean for Norwalk.

“I’m not going to talk about all of that yet because it’s still way too premature,” he said.


10 responses to “Duff looking to be state Senate majority leader”

  1. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Is there anyone in Norwalk who does not know Bob Duff? He has represented us with dignity, with complete candor and with quiet humor for five terms. His candidacies have been models of clean and honest and gentlemanly campaigning, and he has been a credit to our corner of Connecticut in his efforts to make our voices heard in Hartford where he is given high marks by politicians of all stripes. What is more, he is supported on the home front by his tireless and unfailingly dedicated wife and family.

    We can’t think of a better man to be majority leader of the state Senate.

  2. Yankee Clipper

    Are you kidding me Rod? Duff is a wimp. He never takes on anything controversial. He gives us traffic reports instead of fighting for us in Hartford. You don’t make friends and gain leadership positions if you are fighting to get us our fair share of ECS funds or fighting for utility regulations that protect us.

  3. loveforthecity

    Rod wake up and smell the coffee. It smells good when you have a 19 yr old Latino running against an empty suit. Where is your loyalty? Duff votes against paid sick days, against veterans. Mr.Torrano is right about Duff’s record.

    The best analogy that comes to mind, is boxing. You better keep your eye on what is in front of you otherwise you may not have that next prize fight.

  4. John Hamlin

    Duff would be a fine leader of the Democrats. He’s an honest, decent, and committed man. I am concerned that the Democrats will never get free from the grip of the public employee unions — and that’s something that no leader of theirs will ever do until there is a minority party of any significance.

  5. the donut hole

    There is no way in hell that the state Democrat party would fork over this role to someone from Fairfield County. They hate us and our success. That is why the insist on bleeding us dry while barely investing in our infrastructure and schools here. These bloodsuckers won’t stop until the state becomes Detroit.

  6. Piberman

    All Norwalk Democrats will rejoice that one of their own – a strong supporter of Governor Malloy’s historic tax and spend policies – has been elevated to senior status in the Democratic controlled Legislature. Norwalker’s will no longer be able to claim they are “victims” of the Governor’s fiscal policies.
    And our public unions, too, will rejoice at the elevation. CT is leading the way to a better future for all its citizens. Tax and spend is the new magic. Glory be.

  7. DuffHatesNorwalk

    I really believe Duff doesn’t understand what Navarro can do to his career. Because Navarro win he is done for good. Hope Duff does something to make change and not be a cancer.

  8. David McKenzie

    Ii keep hearing that same old same old line about the tax and spend democrats, yet you right wingers never give an example.
    Last I checked the state had a 500 surplus. Do you remember the mess Malloy inherited from years of Republican Governors. Even on a federal level we now seem to be doing pretty good with a Democrat for president.. Do you remember the disaster Obama inherited from Bush? .

  9. spanner

    If Bob couldn’t bring the big money home to Norwlalk the first few terms what makes us all think he can this next one?When you sit in on Ct DOT business and refuse years later to stick up for the stranded riders currently you have to wonder what he knows or what he doesn’t know about the rails.

    Granted he probably has run out of wall space for all the awards he as received over the years hope he hasn’t forget who sent him to Hartford and for what.

    Pete was nice on his take right now,sounds like when the gloves comes off he won’t be as shy in saying what his party thinks.Wouldn’t it be nice if Dick Moccia was to surfice for a run against an old friend who forgot once in a while what team he was on.

  10. spanner

    so does Bob share blame for the Metro-North mess?

    In the four budget and spending package votes reviewed since 2010, the Bridgeport and Stamford delegations voted unanimously in favor of the raids and adjustments that reduced transfers to the Special Transportation Fund.

    State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, who voted in favor of the budgets and adjustments that shifted transportation revenue for General Fund costs for all four votes, said the 2014-15 budget includes more money for Norwalk schools.

    Duff said the longtime advocacy of Fairfield County legislators more than a half decade ago resulted in the state finally investing more than $1 billion in the new fleet of M8 railcars for the New Haven Line.

    “I’ve supported money for new trains and worked hard on having stronger oversight to preserve those funds,” Duff said. “I think people need to look at an entire record of advocacy and not just a vote or two when these issues were not line items.”


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