Kimmel won’t return to Dems, says Watts has ‘destroyed’ the caucus

From left, Common Council members David McCarthy, Bruce Kimmel and David Watts.
From left, Common Council members David McCarthy, Bruce Kimmel and David Watts.

Updated 8:59 p.m. Saturday with link to Watts response.

NORWALK, Conn. – Common Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) wants to disabuse Norwalkers of the notion that, because he has taken leave of the Republican caucus, he will rejoin the Democratic caucus.

“I have no plans to go back to the Democrats right now,” Kimmel said Thursday night.

And why will the registered Democrat, who was endorsed by the Republicans in 2013 and ran on their ticket, not go back to his political home?

“The Democratic caucus has been destroyed by one person,” he said.

The person is David Watts (D-District A).

“He has his own agenda,” Kimmel said. “He conducts personal vendettas, and he cannot be trusted.”

Kimmel said one of Watts’ primary goals, “despite what he says, is to take down Mayor (Harry) Rilling.”

Rilling defeated three other hopefuls in 2013 in the Democratic primary, including Vinny Mangiacopra, who Watts supported. Rilling was endorsed by the Norwalk state Democratic legislative delegation, including Chris Perone (D-137), who Watts unsuccessfully tried to unseat in the August primary.

The mayor declined to comment.

Kimmel left the Republican caucus recently because of what he called the bullying and political intimidation tactics of one member, who he did not name at the time. Thursday night he pointed to David McCarthy and David Watts as the two Council members making his life miserable.

“Here’s some irony,” he said. “The Common Council will be discussing a resolution on bullying, and it is being sponsored by Watts and McCarthy. I’m going to offer an amendment, that we change the sponsor to the Common Council.”

Kimmel accused Watts of bullying and said he has disrupted the Democratic caucus.

“They rarely meet,” he said. “When they do, it’s one fight after another, and they get nothing done.”

Reached by email, Watts wrote, “I have no comment.” Saturday, however, Watts posted a YouTube video response, which he tweeted to his 226 Twitter followers. He also posted it on his Facebook page. The video  takes Kimmel to tash for his party switches.

Kimmel left the Democratic caucus shortly after being elected in 2011 and, in January 2013, joined the Republican caucus. He cited the fighting at that time and said he “had enough.” Kimmel joined Mike Geake and later was joined by Carvin Hilliard as Democrats who left to caucus with the Republicans.

Kimmel said Watts has “poisoned the caucus, made the Council miserable and created havoc wherever he’s been.”

In an Aug. 11 Letter to the Editor prior to the primary election, former Democratic Councilwoman Anna Duleep wrote, “Having worked with David Watts on the 2011-13 Common Council, I have serious concerns about the effect his temperament could have on our Democratic delegation’s ability to advocate successfully for Norwalk. His overbearing tactics directly impacted the decision of legislators on both sides of the aisle – including me – not to run for reelection in 2013. ”

If Kimmel rejoined the Democratic caucus, it would give the party control of the Council by an 8-7 margin and thus all the committee chairmanships. But, he said, “Until that individual is gone” he would not rejoin the caucus.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho declined to comment on the situation.


23 responses to “Kimmel won’t return to Dems, says Watts has ‘destroyed’ the caucus”

  1. EastNorwalkChick

    He is one person out of seven, he can’t possibly have that much influence….and if he does, that is absurd. The only way to defeat a bully is to stand up to them, good grief the numbers are against them, they all need to grow up.

  2. Joanne Romano

    EastNorwalkChick…take it as it appears…this is no joke and it is all true…he is an opportunist, a bully and Power hungry manipulator who will trample anyone and anything he can for his own means. There is nothing worse than someone who has higher aspirations and will do anything he can to get there. He goes as far as alienating his own party. Since I am leaving Norwalk next week I am very happy to say while I will miss most of my 39 years here, he is one experience I gladly leave behind!

  3. Faye Bowman

    This article is inappropriate. No disrespect to Bruce Kimmel, I have no problem with you as a person, but these comments are inappropriate. You have never been in our Caucus and cannot speak about what goes on in our caucus.

    If someone from in the Caucus gave you this information then that is inappropriate as well.

    As we ourselves had not even discussed as a group you being a part of our Caucus these statements are jumping the gun.

  4. Piberman

    You just can ‘t make this stuff up. Time to kiss and make up.

  5. OhNoNorwalk

    Watts just uses people for his political agenda. If you can’t help him by being his stepping stone on his way up. Then you get no help at all.. Fellow citizens this guy has to go. Get out again next election and lets clean this mees up of our council.

  6. Fran Miller

    I commend Mr. Kimmel for taking a stand and calling out this bully. David Watts has ruined the Democratic Caucus for years! I guarantee if you ask any Council Member their opinion of Mr. Watts, they will tell you that he does nothing but bring chaos and disorder to the Council.

  7. Watts up?

    Rumor has it Watts pulled the same dirty tricks in New Haven against members of his own party, and was banished by the party leadership there. Anybody have any more info on this?

  8. One and Done.

    Watts has to go, but I know first graders with more spine than Kimmel. Grown men calling other grown men bullies? Grow up. If Bruce can’t stand the politicking, maybe he should find other avenues to volunteer at. In the meantime call Watts out for what he is a deadbeat opportunist, who rarely reads a packet, and sometimes shows up to meetings. Leave the bullies on the playground.

  9. WattUp

    Watts seesm like he is power hungry. For the democratic caucus in May he campaigned to many local muslims to get out to the Caucus to vote for him. He claimed to be for the AlMadany mosque at Fillow Street. This pandering to a special group helped him get the democratic nomination over Perone at 135 to 99. I believe the muslim vote put him over the top. Then a few months later he flips his position and is against the mosque at Fillow. Watts will say/do whatever it takes to win. He is not to be trusted.

  10. Wineshine

    This is all so hysterical. It’s politics, not the Campfire Girls. Anyone who takes the stand that says, “Ok, let’s all get along, but you have to see it my way” is destined for political failure. Someone who finds fault with both leading parties is called an Independent, and the Independent W-L record isn’t pretty.

  11. Oldtimer

    There is something that seems a bit dishonest about running as a Democrat and then joining the Republican caucus. Finally deciding to leave that caucus sounded like a good move until he now tells us he will not participate in the Democratic caucus. If he cannot be at home with either party, why doesn’t he just resign and go into business as a political consultant ? He already seems to believe he is an expert. Of course, unless others consider him an expert, he may not get many customers. He still owes something to the people who elected him as a Democrat and to the other Democrats on the council. It is time he stepped up to the plate.

    1. Mark Chapman


      Just a reminder: Mr. Kimmel ran on the GOP ticket in 2013 and endorsed the slate and platform despite his party registration.

  12. Taxpayer Fatigue

    Oldtimer, the Republicans nominated Bruce, who did not change his party affiliation from Democrat in the 2013 election. Everyone who voted for him knew what his position was and he won, so I don’t see anything “dishonest” about what he did. On the other hand, Carvin Hilliard, who ran and was elected as a Democrat, and then joined the Republican caucus so he could be council president and get “favors” from the Moccia Administration, is a different story. Fred Bondi and Mike Geake did the same thing as Carvin – that’s being dishonest to the voters who elected them.

  13. Kathleen Montgomery

    Some commenters seem to feel that consistent, aggressive behavior in a workplace environment can be solved by turning the other cheek or by standing up to the bully.

    The targets, according to research, are the highly competent, accomplished and experienced people one works with. While that would seem like a compliment to Mr. Kimmel, it is important to note that when bullies find targets that refuse to be controlled and intimidated, they escalate their behavior. So, it appears that neither turning the other cheek nor standing up to the bully is productive. This appears to be the case with Mr. Kimmel.

    I suggest reading:
    “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert I Sutton would be helpful in informing oneself on the seriousness and detrimental effects for everyone as a result of bullying.

    Norwalk really needs a “No Asshole Rule.” BTW Piberman,as a professor I would think that you know better than to say “Time to kiss and make up”.

    Editor’s note: While there is a word used in this comment that would normally be excised in accordance without policy, we have allowed it as a book title.

  14. Kathleen Montgomery

    Good point, Mark, and thanks for the exception. Just to further clarify:

    Sutton, a Stanford professor, insisted upon use of the word “asshole” since other words such as ”bully” or “jerk” do not have the same impact. I tend to agree with his choice of words largely because people tend to think of bullies or jerks as something only children need to handle (not accurate,though).

  15. LWitherspoon

    Mr. Kimmel is doing exactly the right thing by calling out McCarthy and Watts and refusing to tolerate their behavior. All NoN readers are well aware of Mr. Watts’s despicable behavior, captured at 0:55 in this video:
    Mr. McCarthy’s behavior, while not so blatant as that of Mr. Watts, raises questions as well. Hard to forget the incident in which he videotaped someone from a moving vehicle, looking to play “gotcha”. Perhaps both of these individuals should look for an adult recreational league as an outlet for aggression and gamesmanship, and leave the governing to people who can treat others with a modicum of respect.

  16. MollyB

    David Watts needs to grow up making those silly videos. Watts posted a response video on his twitter page.

    1. Mark Chapman


      At least 2 of those photos are NoN pix used in violation of our copyright.
      Update: Mr. Watts has agreed to remove the photos in question and apologized.
      Update 2: 1:19 a.m. Monday, 9/22: The video had been deleted.

  17. Jeff

    “Men hate each other because they fear each other,
    and they fear each other because they don’t know each other,
    and they don’t know each other
    because they are often separated from each other.”
    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Time for some team building activities at the common council and BOE

  18. Average Joe

    So Watts won’t comment to the press but, he’ll post a youtube video??

    This guy is a clown!!!

  19. justMe

    Just so you know, when one party lets the other party caucus with them, said 2nd party has to sign an agreement under FOI. Otherwise anyone could enter the caucus with them. And said 2nd party CAN NOT go back to the home party.

  20. Chris Donahue

    I recently re-registered as an unaffiliated voter, after 20+ as a Democrat because the party leadership was a mess, and Mr. Watts is certainly part of that. Even after being on 2 ballots as a Democrat, I can’t be a part of that organization until they get their act together. If Democrats ever want to be taken seriously in Norwalk, they need to closely evaluate their priorities, their leadership and their tactics.

  21. Anna Duleep, City Sheriff

    Although I remain a loyal Norwalk Democrat, I understand @Chris Donahue’s perspective. He’s a kind, decent, respectful AND respectable Norwalk dad. I hope someday soon our local party becomes a place where people of Chris’ ethics and talent feel welcome!

    Re: posting a YouTube video in lieu of answering to the people via a free Norwalk press….oy. That’s like talking with the people who were your friends before your romantic relationship about all your ex’s faults, but avoiding your mutual friends or ex’s friends. You post, you get likes, you feel validated. As opposed to standing by your actions as a public official, even when that includes harsh feedback from your constituents. On par with posting insults under an assumed name rather than your own when you’re an elected official (I hold us to a higher standard on this than private citizens who reserve the dubious right to troll under any name they like).

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