NORWALK, Conn. – The four-way Democratic primary may have cost Democratic at large Common Councilman Warren Peña his re-election.
Pena missed the deadline to file for the Working Families Party endorsement because he was out campaigning for District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, who was running for mayor, he said. Both Pena and Town Clerk Rick McQuaid say that Peña would have beaten Bruce Kimmel, a member of the Republican caucus, in Tuesday’s election if he had gotten the endorsement. It wouldn’t have given the Democratic caucus a majority on the council, though.
Peña got 491 WFP votes in the 2011 election.
Kimmel, who is registered as a Democrat but was running on the Republican ticket, got 7,465 votes in Tuesday’s election. Peña got 7,285 votes. Kimmel had 180 votes more than Peña. Peña would likely have beaten Kimmel if he had filed for the WFP endorsement, Peña and McQuaid said.
However, if Peña had gotten a substantial number of WFP votes he would have pushed Democrat Sharon Stewart out of fifth place and into sixth place, meaning she wouldn’t be on the council. Therefore, it would still be eight members in the Republican caucus (Kimmel is still a registered Democrat) and seven members in the Democratic caucus.
Stewart got 426 WFP votes. None of the last five vote-getters got Working Families votes.
“The Working Families Party did their work again,” McQuaid said. “There were people who won because of that Working Families Party. Sharon Stewart was helped by Working Families. It hurt Warren.”
“After analyzing the #’s, if I received the 491 votes from the WFP (like I did in 2011), I would have been in 2nd place,” Peña wrote on Facebook. “The WFP, I believe, would have put me in 1st place, which is pretty telling. I am humbled by the experience and have learned so much (DO NOT miss applying for the WFP).”
He got a reply from Nathalia Gonzalez.
“Warren I am very proud of you,” she wrote. “You put other people before your own needs and unfortunately you sacrificed something very important to you. But you live and you learn and the most important is that it showed how humble you are and that is what the Lord sees and I know that he has bigger and better things for you in the future.”
McQuaid said another issue may have cost Peña votes.
Peña’s name was right below that of Hempstead, who has been on the council since the ’80s and is regarded as a shoe-in. There are people who go to the polls who don’t realize that picking five at-large council candidates doesn’t mean choosing one of the two names that are paired together, McQuaid said. They picked either Hempstead or Peña, he said.
“He didn’t draw the best straw in lining up against Doug Hempstead on the ballot,” McQuaid said.