NORWALK, Conn. – Six Norwalk Democrats have been endorsed by the Working Families Party, although one of the endorsements may be disqualified due to a technicality, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid said.
The issue may have shed some light on what will happen in the mayoral election.
The Working Families Party endorsed 15 candidates in 2011. This year there are up to seven, including the yet-unnamed mayoral candidate; Shirley Mosby and Heidi Keyes for the Board of Education; David Watts for Common Council District A; John Kydes for Common Council District C; Sharon Stewart for Common Council At-Large; and Anna Duleep for sheriff.
Duleep’s endorsement may not fly, as the Working Families Party did not endorse Vinny Mangiacopra for sheriff in the last municipal election, McQuaid said.
The Working Families Party has secured a line for a mayoral candidate in the November election, which sets up a question should Mangiacopra win the Sept. 10 primary.
If the WFP declines to endorse Mangiacopra for the bigger prize this year, would another Democrat step in? In that case, there would be two Democrats running against incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia in November.
Back to Duleep.
Since the Working Families party did not have a candidate for sheriff in 2011, McQuaid is skeptical that it can endorse someone for sheriff this year without having filed petitions. But he does not expect to have an answer about that for several days. Election officials have primaries to worry about, and this is a low priority item, he said.
Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells explained that an independent party can keep a ballot line if enough voters use it to cast their vote. “If the voters use your ballot line you don’t need to have enrolled members. This is the way the Working Families Party stays on the ballot,” he said in an email.
If the party did not get enough votes on that ballot line – in this case, none – it needs names on petitions.
“The number of names needed on a petition varies by office,” Wells said. “It is 1 percent of the number of electors who voted for that office in the last election. More people vote for Mayor than vote for Board of Ed (for example) so 1 percent is slightly more for mayor. The same 1 percent rule applies to keeping the ballot line for the next election.”
Warren Peña was endorsed by the party in 2011 in his bid for an At Large Common Council seat. He is running for re-election without a Working Families endorsement this time. That is because he missed the deadline to file an application, he said.
Other 2011 Working Families candidates included Andy Garfunkel for mayor; David Jaegar for town clerk; Yvonne Rodriguez, Stewart and Duleep for council at-large seats; Bruce Kimmel, Carvin Hilliard, Lynne Moore, Michael Geake, Taber Hamilton and Watts for in district-council seats; Rosa Murray for the Board of Education; and Al Ayme and Mary Geake for Second Taxing District Commissioners.
Duleep got 604 Working Families votes in 2011 – more than any candidate, including Garfunkel.
She said she would have petitioned to get two lines on the ballot but she had other priorities.
“Our four Democratic mayoral candidates were out getting signatures to qualify for the primary ballot,” she said in a computer message. “Getting signatures for myself, before I’d even submitted my application for endorsement by WFP, just wasn’t a priority this year. It’s far more important to work with WFP and others to help elect a Democratic mayor.”
She nevertheless sought the endorsement because the party’s values resonate with her, she said.
“I am proud to have stayed true to the values I share with the Working Families Party. I was the only NO vote against raising the next mayor’s salary a whopping 21.5 percent,” she wrote. “I was the only NO vote against bailing out the Oak Hills Park Authority, an entity that has yet to prove it can competently manage taxpayer dollars. My City Sheriff platform — which I will unveil in detail after the Democratic primary — reflects this shared commitment to social equity. While it will feel strange to appear only once on the ballot, I know my supporters will have no trouble finding me on the Democratic line!”
Watts said the Working Families endorsement provides manpower, not money. That means people going door to door in the two weeks before the election.
“I am honored and proud to fight for working class families,” he said.