Opinion: It isn’t over ’til it’s over; who’s backing who; social media’s all a-twitter

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 12.
The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 12.

NORWALK, Conn. – This item is for all the folks out there who believe that Tuesday’s primary will create a November ballot lineup cast in stone.

It is possible – and not at all improbable – that a losing candidate or two could wind up on the November ballot, backed by another political party.

Think “Joe Lieberman.”

It’s not something the involved pols want voters to know, of course, because they want your vote Tuesday. Make it happen. Settle things now. Get the major party line.

But then there’s the whole “cover your back” thing.

We have been told by at least one anonymous source that Karen Doyle Lyons has petitioned to get on the ballot should she not win Tuesday. Petitions are filed with the Secretary of State’s office, and a response for a request for confirmation of the information was acknowledged in a phone conversation, but no information was provided by 6 p.m.

Here is the schedule for the candidates, including deadlines for petitions.

We were also told there are other petitions that have been circulated for other offices, but no names or offices were provided. The Working Families Party has ballot lines available in the 137th and 142nd districts, according to Norwalk Democratic Registrar of Voters Stuart Wells. He said the is not sure about the 140th, but “I believe they have petitioned for one.”

There also in an interesting possibility in the 137th District, where five-term incumbent Chris Perone is locked in a battle with two-term Common Councilman David Watts (D-District), who won the party endorsement by a narrow margin at the district convention in May.

The Republicans signed up former Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba as its candidate in the 137th, but RTC chief Pete Torrano said at the time – and Scialabba has said since – that he is a “placeholder,” to allow the Republicans access to the ballot should they come up with a viable candidate in the Democrat-heavy district.

That candidate, we are hearing, could be Chris Perone.

If Perone should lose to Watts in the primary, where participation is expected to be low, Perone could be endorsed by Republicans for their ballot spot to run in the general election. This is not unprecedented for the Norwalk Republicans, at least at the local level, where two Democrats ran for Common Council on the Republican ballot last year. Bruce Kimmel (D-At-Large) won his race, while Mike Geake did not. Coincidentally, Watts labelled his opponent the “Perone-Geake” ticket in an attack flyer over the weekend after the Perone campaign sent out a flyer highlighting Watts’ property tax delinquency. Geake and his wife, Mary, who are Perone’s treasurers, were both pictured on the flyer accusing the Perone team of being “dirty campaigners.”

We are told the Republicans would rather back Perone on the GOP ticket than see Watts go to Hartford.

Oh, the intrigue!


Let one thing be perfectly clear…

Retiring state representative and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero (R-142) carries a lot of weight with Norwalk Republicans and independents – and some Democrats as well, so it is not surprising that various candidates would like voters to believe they have Cafero’s backing.

They don’t.

We spoke with Cafero Monday afternoon, and asked about two races where candidate or their backers may have given the impression that they have the 11-term legislator’s blessing.

Cafero on Karen Doyle Lyons (GOP registrar of voters):

“I didn’t endorse anyone in that race, but Karen is a very good friend and always very supportive of me as well.”

Cafero on the two GOP candidates to take his place in Hartford, Fred Wilms and Emily Wilson:

No endorsement, but “They are both very qualified, great candidates.”

“There is a reason I don’t endorse, in that particular race,” he said. “I am, by virtue of me being the minority leader, head of the House Republican Campaign Committee. We have had a long tradition never to endorse one candidate over the other in a primary. We have even done that in cases where not having incumbents (s in the 142nd race). As I am the leader, and because I am still chair of the House Campaign Committee …. I have respected what tradition.”

Cafero then threw bouquets to both candidates, one of who will face Democrat Andy Garfunkel this fall in the traditionally Republican district that includes a portion of New Canaan.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that we as a party having two incredibly well-qualified candidates,” Cafero said. “They’re terrific. Whoever turns out to be the victor, I am going to work very, very hard for victory in November.”


And to create some confusion…

Former at-large Common Councilwoman, former state rep candidate and current city Sheriff Anna Duleep will be straddling the political divide Tuesday.

“I am going to be supporting the Perone/Lyons ticket,” she said Monday.

Say what?

Duleep is backing both Chris Perone (D-137) and Republican Registrar of Voters Karen Doyle Lyons for re-election.

“Wherever Perone needs me to be, I’m going to be there, and I’m going to have ‘vote for Karen’ stuff on me, too, for the Republicans,” Duleep said.

“They both know and they’re both cool with each other.”


The Twitterverse is crackling

Warren Peña, who is running against four-term incumbent state Rep. Bruce Morris in the 140th, has been linked closely with David Watts (rep candidate in the 137th) since the two were elected to the Council together in 2011. They are currently sharing a campaign headquarters and a campaign philosophy of getting young people involved and paying them for their help.

Watts has taken his opponent to task for criticizing other Democrats (himself), but a string of Tweets over the past few days belies an aversion to intra-party nastiness on the part of the Peña-Watts ticket:

From Warren Pena
From Warren Peña
Watts attaacks the Perone campaign
Watts attacks the Perone campaign

(Perone/Morris Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin’s responses are in our story published Sunday morning.)

Democrat Anna Duleep joins the fray.
Democrat Anna Duleep joins the fray.
And more from David Watts
And more from David Watts

We checked other candidates’ Twitter feeds, but… well, BORING!


5 responses to “Opinion: It isn’t over ’til it’s over; who’s backing who; social media’s all a-twitter”

  1. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Exactly boys and girls!!!!!!!

  2. Anna Duleep, City Sheriff

    Just for the sake of completion…
    I tweeted thanks to Councilman Watts for respecting me. I believe I wrote, “Thanks. I work hard to earn that respect.”
    As for Councilman Pena’s tweets, I look forward to hearing how the SEEC rules on that postcard he had handed out on his behalf last November. I don’t care if his board is cool with his just reimbursing the money; it doesn’t matter to me when Pat Ferrandino supposedly knew about it. ANY candidate recognizes it as an unfair attempt to get an advantage over the other 4 Dems running At-Large on our ticket last year. Any candidate should know the SEEC’s strict laws regarding font size and proper attribution on campaign literature. Councilman Pena is truly tempting fate by using the phrase “@campaignviolations” to describe any candidate other than himself!

  3. EastNorwalkChick

    Anna, love your tweets!

  4. One and Done.

    I have a better idea, let’s send Watt’s to Waterbury, Waterford, or Watertown. Anywhere except here or Hartford. Eloisa Melendez and Shannon O’Toole represent the youth of our city very well. Pena and Watts represent themselves very well.

  5. Anna Duleep, City Sheriff

    @EastNorwalkChick: Thank you! I’ve been up since 4:30 & you made my day. 🙂

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