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Morris, Perone prevail, remain on track to retain state rep seats

morris
State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140), left, celebrates with state Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) on Tuesday after both defeated challengers to their re-election in a primary.

NORWALK, Conn. – Incumbent State Rep. Bruce Morris easily won the Democratic primary in the 140th District with a 571-210 advantage over challenger and former at-large Common Councilman Warren Peña.

In the 137th, five-term incumbent Chris Perone, who lost the Democratic Party district nomination by a slim margin in May, topped challenger and two-term District A Common Councilman David Watts, 467-268.

Those numbers do not include 83 absentee ballots that had not been counted.

Neither winner currently faces a challenger in the November election, but minor party challenger have until Sept. 4 to get on the ballot, and the Republican Party has a placeholder, Art Scialabba, in the 137th and can name a challenger if it finds one.

A triumphant Morris hugged Perone and said he is ready to dig in and continue the job he has done for the past eight years.

“We’ve moved the state forward, we’ve worked together as a team, and we expect to continue to do all we can do the best for the city of Norwalk and the state,” he said of himself, Perone and state Sen. Bob Duff, who joined the celebration.

“This is the leadership that is going to move the city forward,” he said.

The two district races had become unpleasant, with Peña accusing Morris of stealing lawn signs and of telling people the 140th District was an “African-American seat.” The racial rhetoric may have backfired, and at least one voter talked about it Tuesday at the polls.

Tony Velez
Tony Velez, a six year resident of Norwalk, talks Tuesday afternoon about the reasons he voted for state Rep. Bruce Morris.

Tony Velez, a Puerto Rican-born Vietnam veteran raised in New York City and now living in Norwalk, said, “My so-called friend Warren Peña will be upset, but I voted for Morris,” he said, explaining that he has talked with Peña several times but they are not really friends.

Velez said he felt Peña was catering too heavily to the Latino community.

“I’ve read several articles about him breaking up the community,” he said. “I don’t like to hear or see that. It seems things are directed that way in this election.”

Velez talked about the controversy surrounding the South Norwalk Community Center, Peña’s push to dismiss Executive Director Marina Forero-Ferrandino and her husband, Pat Ferrandino, and cited reports of meetings held in Spanish.

“That’s disturbing to me,” said the nearly 70-year-old self-described activist. “It’s disturbing to me in a nation where we need unity and people need to come together for the main enemy – the ruling class. They like division against working people and when I smell that, I won’t support it.”

Morris had some word for Peña.

“The voter’s have spoken. I hope he takes whatever skills he does have, and ability, to work together toward unified Norwalk.”

He also said the size of his victory has given him renewed energy.

The 73 percent win puts “wind in my sails to continue to fight,” he said.

In the 137th District,Watts, who began his run in 2013 with an exploratory committee, suffered from dogging comments about his chronically delinquent property taxes. Some wondered how he could afford to rent an apartment in the 137th District while his house in the 142nd sat empty. Other questioned his professional background. Answers were not forthcoming. Instead, he accused Perone of dirty campaigning for bringing up the tax issue; he complained about people leaving negative comments online. And he complained about Democrats attacking other Democrats, even as he forced a five-term Democrat and chairman of the powerful Commerce Commission.

Watts also failed to enunciate a clear platform, and was called out by voter for his lack of information.

Councilman David Watts (D-District A)
Councilman David Watts (D-District A) listens as Julianne Falkingham extols his virtues Tuesday at St. Mary Church. Falkingham works on his campaign, he said.

Still, the Yale Divinity graduate had his devoted followers.

Julianne Falkingham made no bones about who her choice was for state representative – Watts all the way.

“I’m voting for him,” she said, indicating the two-term Common Councilman from District A, “because he’s awesome. He does a lot to help people who have disabilities. He’s always, like, there for people. He came to my best friend’s birthday party – him and his wife and his son. They came. And it really meant a lot to her that they came.

“David does a lot to help the community, and he helps a lot of people,” she said. “I’ve always voted for him. He’s an awesome guy. I just love him so much, and I really appreciate what he does for our community.”

But others had a different take.

At the Tracey school, voter Pamela Anderson had a different take on the race, saying she had voted for Perone, who she described as a friend of both her and her son.

“He does a good job,” she said, adding that “I do not like Watts at all. He would ruin Norwalk.”

Steve Rappaport said he was voting for Perone.

“He’s done a good job for us and he’s in line to possibly take over the transportation chairmanship. And that’s really important to me.”

Brian Anderson (no relation to Pamela) had another reason for choosing Perone.

“I’ve known him for 10 years, and I’ve kept track of what he’s been doing. He’s focused on education. … That’s important to me.”

Democratic politicians took to Twitter to congratulate Perone and Morris.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes showed his appreciation.

State Sen. Bob Duff was ecstatic.

City Sheriff Anna Duleep, who had more than a few things to say about the races before the election, had this followup.

Comments

7 responses to “Morris, Perone prevail, remain on track to retain state rep seats”

  1. Sono Resident

    Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who ran – diversity of opinion can make us stronger. The turnout was pitifully low and none of the winners should behave like they have a mandate from the voters. There’s another election in just two years.

  2. DeeeeMoooo

    @SonoRedident
    The turnout was pitifully low and none of the winners should behave like they have a mandate from the voters.
    .
    If this statement is accurate, then none of the losers should behave like they accomplished anything whatsoever (other than wasting voter/taxpayer time and money).

  3. peter parker

    Norwalk voters should be ashamed for not coming out to vote. The turnout was horrible. If people don’t vote they shouldn’t complain.

  4. One and Done.

    At least someone made $100k off the backs of taxpayers for making litter and landfill material.
    .
    Now Bruce and Chris can get back to the business of raising taxes and debt levels, creating more barriers for business to hurdle and eliminating private sector jobs, and firmly establishing us as a sanctuary state for the hordes coming across the border.
    .
    Now Pena can refocus on his local land grab at SonoCC and Watts can get back to skipping his committee meetings and playing on the Ipad we bought him.

  5. rburnett

    Right on D.M.

  6. Chevy Vega

    I’m in your corner Sono Resident.

  7. Bill

    Chris Perone is 1000% Gale Boetticher from Breaking Bad, looks and sounds just like him:

    http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Gale_Boetticher

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