Norwalk’s Dem state reps may face primary challenges

Morris Pena
Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140), left; former council member Warren Peña.

NORWALK, Conn. — While the announcement by Norwalk’s Larry Cafero that he will not run for a 12th term in the state House of Representative has cleared the decks for Republicans to jump into the November race, potential Democratic challengers to a couple of  Dem incumbents continue to fly under the radar.

Four-term incumbent state Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) filed papers to seek re-election on Jan. 26, listing Ainsworth MacFarlane as treasurer and Mary Burgess as deputy treasurer. He will likely face a challenge from former Common Council member, South Norwalk Community Center Board of Directors Chairman and Latino community leader Warren Peña, who filed his papers as a candidate for state rep in the 140th district on Feb. 10. His treasurer is Razwan Ahmad of Trumbull.

In the 137th District, five-term incumbent Chris Perone filed his papers for a sixth term on Jan. 10, with Norwalkers Mary Geake as treasurer and her husband, Mike Geake, as deputy treasurer. The Geakes replaced David Jaeger, who resigned in anticipation of running for chairman of the Democratic Town Committee. That run never happened.

Perone is likely to be opposed by two-term Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A), who filed exploratory committee papers nearly a year ago and has been vocal about his intention to run for office, although without specifying who he would run against. His wife, Kathleen Watts, is listed as his treasurer.

In January, Watts accused Perone and Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells of colluding to change the (council) district dynamics of the district’s representation on the Democratic Town Committee.

The dust-up came a week after a story appeared in which Watts discussed his fund-raising for an unspecified office, and Perone acknowledged hearing that Watts would likely challenge him in a primary.

If Watts does intend to run against Perone, he will have to establish residence in the 137th District. Watts currently resides in the 142nd District – Cafero’s district – and that race is already crowded, with Democrat Andy Garfunkel and Republican Emily Wilson as declared candidates and Republican Fred Wilms, who filed exploratory committee papers in February, considering a challenge.


14 responses to “Norwalk’s Dem state reps may face primary challenges”

  1. anonymous

    Time for Morris to go.

  2. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman
    Are you certain that David Watts would have to move into the 137th to challenge Chris Perone? I had heard that Watts could run for state representative from outside the district, but he would be required to move there in the extremely unlikely event that he won.

    1. Mark Chapman


      According to Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells:
      “A new law passed last session requires that a candidate for State Senator or State Representative be an enrolled member of the party in the district at the time he is endorsed as the party’s candidate or, if not endorsed, at the time he takes out petitions to be force a primary in order to become the nominee of the party. The effect of this is that a candidate can’t get on the ballot as the nominee of a major party unless he already lives in the district, and changes his voter registration to reflect this.”
      Wells added the caveat that he has received no official communication on this and it is interpretation of the law. The prior law was that one must live in the district upon taking office.

  3. Bill

    Anyone but Morris & Garfunkel, the old guard needs to be kicked out of office. Watts? Not a chance in hell.

  4. WOW!

    As recent as yesterday, MORRIS was trying to pitch a group of non-profit leaders about the need for NEON to make a comeback. This man just doesn’t get it! NEON needs to go away! So does MORRIS! A new Community Action Agency with no ties to NEON needs to replace it with proper governance, accountability and collaboration with responsible and competent social service, non-profit organizations. Merely changing NEON’s name isn’t going to fool anyone EXCEPT a FOOL!

  5. Longtime Norwalk Resident

    Morris has to go. He helped perpetuate the NEON fiasco, and is evidently still trying.

  6. Melendez Love

    I think Eloisa Melendez should be the one that’s running.

  7. Francis Overwood

    How about a seal from the marittime aquqrium?

  8. illegal

    Time for Warren to do something for the community. Not jusy for the Spanish….

  9. new perspective

    I think Warren has great intentions and not just for the latino community!

  10. DistrictBDem

    Warren Pena will be the best thing that happens to South Norwalk. The entire community needs and should rally behind him.

  11. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman
    Thank you for the update.

  12. justMe

    Warren lives in District D & David Watts lives in District A. Both have already filed paperwork so they can not have anything to do with District B or South Norwalk per what I just read from Stuar Wells.t

  13. Anonymous

    This comment was disallowed for violating our policy against name-calling, making false statements and libel.

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