GOP candidate out of 140th race; Aug. 12 winner will likely be unopposed in November

Updated 2:42 p.m. Friday with Warren Peña comment.

NORWALK, Conn. – The Aug. 12 Democratic primary election in the 140th legislative district just got a bit more real.

A paperwork snafu cost presumed Republican candidate Harold Bonnet a chance to run for the seat in the General Assembly, leaving Norwalk’s GOP without a candidate for the November election.

Meanwhile, four-term incumbent Bruce Morris, the Democratic Party-backed candidate, and former at-large Common Councilman Warren Peña will duke it out in the primary.

Morris, who also works as the Human Relations Officer for Norwalk Public Schools, beat Peña, 222-99, in a May 20 district vote to win the party nomination. Peña has since obtained the 200-plus petition signatures he needed to force a primary.

Morris said it did not matter to him who he would face.

“Regardless of who my opponent may be, I’ll be running on my record of service to the community of Norwalk,” he said in an email to NancyOnNorwalk. “It’s been an honor serving as state representative for the past eight years. I’ve successfully brought home more pre-K seats, additional education funding, and jobs programs. I hope the voters will re-elect me so I can continue to serve the people of Norwalk.”

Peña, who responded Friday to the late Thursday night inquiry, said he is focusing squarely on Morris.

“Frankly, I have my eyes on one opponent, Bruce Morris,” he said. “He is my only focus. The 140th voters really have two options, myself or Morris, as it is a heavily Democratic district.”

Republican Town Committee Chairman Peter Torrano had expressed enthusiasm for the Republican District B chairman, a Haitian immigrant who is, Torrano said, dedicated to the party.

“Being Republican means the interest of America,” Bonnet said when he was nominated. “Our state and our people comes first. From the top of the Democrat Party they act like pirates, and from the bottom, not a word from their mouths can be trusted. Honestly, our goal as Republicans, the point to respect our word is our integrity.”

Torrano called Bonnet “one of the hardest working people in our party, without question.”

“If I could harness Harold’s energy and spread it out among the other people in the party, we’d have a wonderful party because this is one hardworking son of a gun, I’ve got to tell you,” Torrano said.

Bonnet was not the first choice for a Republican in the district. It was Bonnet who touted Congolese immigrant Roger Gisanga for the slot. Gisanga was announced by the party as its candidate, but withdrew about two weeks later, citing personal reasons. That’s when Bonnet stepped up.

According to Torrano, forms that had been obtained from the Secretary of State’s office were filed with the Norwalk Town Clerk’s Office when Gisanga was nominated. The papers should have been filed with the state. When the snafu was discovered, and Gisanga had decided to step down, the papers were not refiled, he said. Then, when Bonnet was nominated, papers were submitted, but the deadline had passed.

“You have two weeks to file papers after the nominating convention or vote,” Torrno said. “When we found out about the mistake, we knew Roger wasn’t going to run so we didn’t submit them again. When we nominated Harold, we set in the papers, but, because we missed the original deadline, we couldn’t submit a replacement candidate.”

Torrano said the only way the Republicans could get someone on the ballot now is to find someone to run unaffiliated, but with Republican values. They would have to obtain 520 petition signatures by Aug. 6 to get on the November ballot. He said there was been no official decision, but he does not expect Bonnet to run.


12 responses to “GOP candidate out of 140th race; Aug. 12 winner will likely be unopposed in November”

  1. John Hamlin

    So the homophobic Bruce Morris will end up with another term. This is the best Norwalk can produce? Another candidate propelling the state faster in its race to the bottom.

  2. Stuart Wells

    As I recall, the number of signatures a petitioning candidate needs to obtain is 1% of the number of people who voted for that office in the last election. Since a little over 5,000 people voted for Representative Morris last time, the number of signatures needed is between 50 & 60, not 520. Furthermore, any registered voter in the 140th district could sign — Democratic, unaffiliated, Republican, etc. It wouldn’t take much work at all for the Republicans to make up for their paperwork mistake. I’ll check the exact number when I get to the office.
    Stuart Wells, Registrar

  3. Peter Torrano


    Thank you for checking further, but:

    The number of signatures does not matter at this point. Mr. Bonnet will only seek office as a Republican. His belief in the views and goals of the GOP are something he takes great pride in and as such he has opted to not run as an in unaffiliated candidate. We look forward to Harold Bonnet representing our party in future elections.

  4. Oldtimer

    Anybody notice nobody is taking responsibility for the filing mistake ?

  5. Stuart Wells

    Perhaps Mr. Bonnet will reconsider, now that he knows the correct number. In any event, the number of signatures which Mr. Bonnet or anyone else needs to qualify for the ballot in District 140 is just 54. Additionally, a petitioning candidate can still qualify for the Citizen’s Election Program by raising the required $5,000 from at least 150 Norwalk donors in donations of $100 or less.

  6. longtimedem

    Rumor has it that another party’s endorsement or cross-endorsement may also be up for grabs: http://uspirates.org.

  7. John Levin

    As I understood it, the republicans typically would not have a candidate entered to run in the 140th district, and incumbent Bruce Morris would run unopposed, as the district is VERY heavily democratic, and the republicans did not wish to encourage voter turnout in the district. Is this correct, or was I misinformed?

  8. Taxpayer Fatigue

    You are correct John. The Republican Party in Norwalk has a long history of announcing candidates for District B/140 positions and then having them quietly (or not so quietly) withdraw, drop out, not show up, etc. At least this is a new tactic…whoops, I filed the paperwork incorrectly, oh darn.

    It’s all about trying to hold down voter turnout in District B. The numbers are such that a full turnout of District B democratic voters would have the democrats taking every city-wide elected position every time. Of course, the democrats aren’t that organized either…it’s a smart strategy on the part of Republicans, I just wouldn’t bother with the charade.

  9. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Why do we have to spend taxpayer money to have a primary, the people turned out to vote for whom they wanted. Mr. Penna should wait for the next term and save the money.

  10. Oldtimer

    Dishonest is as dishonest does. Republicans have used some strategy to avoid any real contest in that district for years, but now they are so ashamed we get these silly stories. As if they believed everybody in that district was too stupid to know when they are being lied to. And then they wonder why they don’t get more support from the people they have been trying to deceive for so long.

  11. Just saying

    Wait a minute….. The 137th was filed correctly… What is the blame game ?? Mr. Torrano … Nt my fault ?? Oh really?

  12. Robert J Sodaro

    Once again, I’m confused by Mr. Torrano’s inability to a) get his facts straight, and b) wade through the hilarity of whatever it is that he is attempting to say (Not to mention c) “I Made a mistake but it wan’t my fault”).

    First he files the paperwork for the 137th district just fine and dandy, and yet he somehow files the exact same paperwork for the 140th District wrong. (Did he bother to take the time to actually read what he was filling out and signing?)

    He then goes on to says that the party’s proposed candidate for the 140th, Mr. Bonnet is “One of the hardest working people in our party, without question.” And yet Bonnet is apparently too busy to attempt to secure the 52 (not 520, as Mr. Torrano wrongly states) signatures necessary to acquire a slot on the ballot.
    Meanwhile Republican Registrar of Voters Karen Doyle Lyons (who Mr. Torrano is attempting to oust) needed 423 signatures to Primary and wound up securing 152 MORE signatures than she actually needed. I can’t help but to think that Mr. Torrano has somehow mixed up the definition of “Hardest working.”
    Mr. Torrano keeps getting his facts wrong, making mistakes, and attempting to call Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons “unprofessional” while she keeps doing exactly what she is supposed to do, and getting it done right. Makes you wonder, eh?

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