Watts makes it official with campaign filing for Perone’s 137th District House seat

Common Council member David Watts (D-District A)
Common Council member David Watts (D-District A)

This story was updated at 2:40 p.m. Friday, May 9, with additional information about dates and locations for Democratic endorsement conventions.

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s finally official: Common Council member David Watts (D-District A) is running against incumbent Democrat Chris Perone for the District 137 seat in the state House of Representatives.

Watts filed papers April 26 with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. He had filed papers to form an exploratory committee for an unspecified office in April 2013, allowing him to begin raising money for the run. While he filed the new papers in late April, he has still not announced his candidacy and would not comment late Thursday.

Watts has had to move his official residence to run in the 137th District. In an April 10 NoN story, Watts said his apartment, which he has not fully moved into, is in District A, though he won’t specify where.

“I have an apartment in the district. I signed the lease and I have a key. Right now I am going back and forth. So I haven’t changed my voter registration yet but I will, very soon.”

Watts also opened a campaign office on East Avenue.

Watts, in his second term on the Council, is expected to force a primary should he not get the party endorsement.

Perone, in his third term, is vice chairman of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and a member of the Transportation and Commerce committees. He is a former District D Common Council member.

Watts had more than $3,700 on hand as of his April 10 filing, and had raised more than $5,500 overall.

Perone’s April 10 filing indicated he had raised $1,765 and had $1,664 on hand. Perone did not activate his campaign committee until January of this year.

“I am continuing to raise money, but my first priority is the work I am doing up here in Hartford,” Perone said in that report. “… It is going well, but I have some more pressing matters that I have to deal with on the state level. But that has always been my priority.”

Watts is now officially the second Norwalk Democrat to challenge a sitting member of the House from his own party. Former at-large councilman Warren Peña previously announced his bid to unseat four-term incumbent Bruce Morris (D-140).

In the 142nd District, where 22-year incumbent Larry Cafero, the House minority leader is retiring, former Norwalk Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, a Democrat, is running against one of two Republicans: Fred Wilms, the former chairman of the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation, Common Council and Zoning Board of Appeals member, and current Zoning Commission Vice Chairwoman Emily Wilson.

On the Senate side, five-term incumbent Bob Duff (D-25), the assistant Senate president pro tempore, is being challenged by fellow Dem and political newcomer Israel Navarro. There was no announced Republican candidate as of Thursday night.

State political party conventions will be held throughout the month to endorse candidates. Republicans will gather May 12 at the Norwalk Inn to select a candidate for the 25th District Senate seat held by Duff. On May 14, the local GOP will gather at the Norwalk Inn to endorse a candidate for representative in the 142nd District, and, on May 22, the Republican Town Committee will gather at a location to be named to endorse candidates for the 137th and 140th districts and registrar of voters.

Democrats will convene for their state Senate endorsement May 19 in the Norwalk City Hall Conference Room. The 137th District state representative endorsement convention will be May 20 at Tracey Elementary School, 20 Camp St., and the 143rd District at Wilton Town Hall, 238 Danbury Road.  Endorsement convention for the 142nd will be May 20 at Oak Hills Restaurant, 165 Fillow St. The convention for the 140th and 141st districts will be May 20 at sites to be named.

The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 12, with the general election Nov. 4.


27 responses to “Watts makes it official with campaign filing for Perone’s 137th District House seat”

  1. EveT

    It is healthy to have competition for endorsements. Glad to see democracy in action.

  2. EastNorwalkChick

    My personal opinion, I’m not sure if Mr. Watts has the qualifications, the experience, nor the maturity for the office just yet. But wish him well on this endeavor.

  3. LWitherspoon

    I share your concerns about Mr. Watts’s lack of experience, qualifications, and maturity. The most recent display of immaturity occurred in a common council committee meeting earlier this week:
    See 0:55 in the video for an example of the childish behavior that Mr. Watts considers appropriate for elected officials. Whatever your politics, surely all can agree that such behavior is the opposite of what we want from the people representing Norwalk in Hartford.

  4. the donut hole

    Besides the grade school antics on display, let’s really examine what a failed council person we have here. Three years into it, he still doesn’t understand our government and how to go about getting things done. If you want to change the policy on sidewalks, you start with Ordinance. Then if that policy requires funding you go to Finance. Then if there is money to spend on it, you take that to DPW. His ad nauseam rants […] have no place in running this city’s business. If our state weren’t so screwed up, I’d vote him to go up there just to leave us alone.

    This comment has been edited to conform to our policy.

  5. EastNorwalkChick

    @LWitherspoon – Agreed, what happened in the common council committee meeting is exactly what drives my opinion. It was unprofessional, immature, unnecessary and created political animosity amongst council members when we most need both sides working together to solve our problems.
    I expect more from my elected representatives and I hope others do too, no matter what their political leanings.
    Mr. Watts in my opinion is not ready for prime time…

  6. Suzanne

    Not in a million years.

  7. minimum wage worker

    Go for it Dave!

    These people are just haters and they will never accept the fact that you have a long history of public service. Hmm, a guess a Yale Degree is not worth much to the NoN trolls nor elected twice to the common council.

  8. Oyster

    Check that Yale school degree, it’s not Law or Business.

  9. LWitherspoon

    @minimum wage worker
    A degree from Yale Divinity School does not qualify you to be state representative. What would qualify you would be professional success as well as accomplishments in the field of public service.
    The fact that you don’t appear to have held a paying job since the Knopp administration, apart from some part-time campaign work for a shoe-in New Haven mayoral candidate, suggests that you have not achieved professional success. As does the way you boast about not taking the $600 stipend for Common Council members at the same time that you owe the City thousands of dollars in property taxes which are long past due.
    The fact that you can’t point to any achievements as a member of the Common Council, apart from fighting to give more of our tax dollars to municipal employee unions, suggests that that you have not achieved success in public service either. Your immature behavior at a council committee meeting last week is simply further proof. There apparently is no way to excuse such behavior, which must be why you haven’t bothered to try and explain it to NoN or defend it in your comment above.
    I’m glad to see commenters of all political stripes stating that David Watts is not a suitable representative for anyone’s interests in Hartford.

  10. minimum wage worker


    It is not the School of Medicine nor the School of Forestry. Where did you go to school Harvard or Princeton? What an elitist statement and proves you’ re out of touch with reality. You and the rest of the trolls can move the goal post but the people of the district will decide. Go vote!

    Democracy is good!

  11. Oyster

    @minimum wage worker,

    Me thinks thou doth protest too much. (Shakespeare-They taught me that in my non-elitist school.)
    Pointing out facts does not make me a troll. It is the very opposite of being out of touch with reality.
    Suggest you look up the term “troll”. You might want to check out the phrase “mixed metaphor” while you are at it.

  12. minimum wage worker

    @Oyster aka Mrs. Lovely Howell

    Your comment was simply elitist and appeals to the Thurston Howell types that troll here. He went to Yale but it wasn’t the Yale Law School! LoL

    Somewhere a young African American wants to grow to be a minister, will end up at Yale Divinity School and derided for choosing GOD over money. Classic!

  13. Oldtimer

    There are too many law degrees in the legislature now, in my opinion. A few divinity degrees sprinkled among all those lawyers might be a very good thing. Somebody recently suggested that legislators, at the federal level, should be required to wear uniforms like the NASCAR drivers wear, so we could see who their sponsors are. While some may criticize Watts’ style, there is no doubting his commitment to the people that elected him. We have never heard Watts making up patently ridiculous numbers to make a point, like some people he has clashed with recently.

  14. anonymous

    Give back the Ipad, use own equipment. Leadership 101.

  15. Watts may have received a degree in divinity or ministry and THIS is the type of behavior he displays???

    What a waste of an education.

  16. Oyster

    @minimum wage worker,

    not elitist, factual. Why omit the divinity reference in the first place if it is so relevant?

  17. Bill

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA….pause, catch breath…… hahahahahahahahahahahah

  18. LWitherspoon

    @minimum wage worker (who most of us strongly suspect is David Watts)
    I believe that referring to someone who doesn’t support David Watts as a troll constitutes name-calling, which is against the NoN terms of service.
    People including myself have expressed concerns about Mr. Watts’s lack of qualifications. You have a choice regarding how to respond to that. You can a) make factual statements that prove us wrong, or b) you can simply call us names. If I were you I would make factual statements, if you have any facts supporting your argument, as it might win people to your cause. Instead you engage in the sort of immature behavior that David Watts displayed at a recent Council meeting, which turned off many people on this thread who are of all political strips – Democrat, Republican, and Independent. You’re not helping your cause any.
    A divinity degree is a credential. What have you done with it? Voters have the right, nay the duty, to ask that question. The fact that you won’t answer and resort instead to name-calling shows us who you really are.

  19. Osgood Schlater

    In usual parlance, “he went to Yale” means he studied there as an undergraduate. If he went to one of the Yale graduate schools, one would say he went to Yale Medical School or Yale Divinity School, etc. I think the point some of critics are making is that the admission criteria for the Divinity School are nowhere as rigorous
    as the undergraduate school or the other faculties. If it were, I believe Mr. Watts would not drop it when talking about his graduate school experience. One issue that should not go away is Mr. Watts’lack of gainful employment. Except for the Mayor,our elected officials are citizen volunteers who devote their extra time to public service. Work implies discipline and accomplishment at every level, and genuine empathy for your fellow workers.

  20. minimum wage worker


    This is nothing more than moving the goal post for minority candidates. Where did you go to school? Watts fights for the people and you know it!

  21. Bill

    Watts fights for public employee unions, that’s about all

  22. LWitherspoon

    I find it ironic that Mr. Watts is likely the one posting as ‘minimum wage worker’ since as far as I’m aware, he hasn’t had gainful employment since the Knopp administration, apart from some part-time campaign work for a shoe-in New Haven mayoral candidate. That’s an insult to minimum wage workers who are actively working to improve their lives.
    With respect to Yale Divinity School, the point of going to an excellent school is not so you can tell everyone you went there. The point is to become educated so you can provide a valuable service to the broader world. It’s entirely reasonable to ask what Mr. Watts has done, if anything, with his degree. Apparently the answer is… very little. Apart from accusing anyone who questions him of being a racist, that is.

  23. Jonesy

    Er, David, your running in another league than your accustomed to which may make you hesitant to respond to the attacks. You can do like Himes does, and just censor all negative comments and commentors, ignore all opposing views and embarrassing votes or contributions or affiliations, as Himes does on his official Facebook page but have to ask yourself is that why you stood up? Is Himes, silencing all transparency and dissent, is he to be used as a role model for elected leaders? If your gonna stand up, have to have your ducks in a row, know the rules and players have a plan/mandate and a have thick enough skin to deflect nonsense with the courage to stand by and defend your convictions and positions. Have to do the homework and be prepared and prepared to respond. So, show us what you got. The article is about you but you haven’t posted even a thank you to Non for the exposure no less respond to some of the valid concerns raised about maturity. Youthful energy and ideas is welcomed in all levels of government and needed, however, maturity and wisdom are valuable tools in the tool box for leaders seeking bipartisan coalition building and legislative success, are they not? David? Hello?

  24. minimum wage worker

    @ L Witherspoon,

    Your personal attacks add no value. I totally respect Watts and his family. His son is an alter boy at my church (St. Mary’s RC) and his family is very nice. I don’t know how much council people get paid but can’t be enough to put with your nonsense.

    African-Americans have a strong tradition of serving in church roles (pastors and lay people). Money making Thurston Howell types will never understand. You’re simply moving the goal post and need some divinity in your life.

    People should consider the issues and not engage in dumpster diving.

  25. LWitherspoon

    @minimum wage worker aka David Watts
    It’s nice that you respect yourself and your family, but how about answering some of the concerns raised by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike on this thread? Here is your chance to win some votes by describing your accomplishments and employment history. If you don’t I can only assume that the commenters are correct.

  26. John Levin

    Separate from the discussion of David Watts, and “going to Yale” versus one of Yale’s graduate programs versus Yale’s Divinity School: I think that Chris Perone has served Norwalk well, and is very capable as a representative. I think he is smart, honest, sincere, hard working, and now, after several terms, experienced. I have only heard one person ever say otherwise, and that person only recently moved into Chris Perone’s district in order to run against him.

  27. Oyster

    @John Levin,
    Excellent point. If Mr. Watts demonstrated that same level of service and maturity during his years on the council, it would have helped his case that he was ready to serve on a larger body in a collaborative and thoughtful way, as Rep. Perone has done.

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