NORWALK, Conn. – A political newcomer who challenged five-term State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) before abruptly withdrawing said he has no plans to disappear from public life and that he has learned lessons from his brief foray into Democratic affairs.
Israel Navarro also said the reason he left the campaign so abruptly was his mother’s struggle for life.
Navarro, a 2012 Brien McMahon High School graduate, announced in February that he was taking on the popular five-term incumbent Duff. A source said at the time that Navarro, who was 19 years old at the time, would easily be able to get the six delegates he would need in the district convention to force a primary, but Navarro did not appear at the convention. That was only a week after the candidate released a video attacking Duff.
“The reason I didn’t continue in the candidacy is my mom, she got very ill,” Navarro said Wednesday. “… She’s recovered now but she’s not in a full recovery yet. She’s going to need my attention and everything so I basically gave up the candidacy, gave up the race and everything just to be with her.”
His mom was in Norwalk Hospital for a month, he said.
The idea to release the video came from his campaign.
“They decided to drop the video,” he said. “At the time, with my whole mom thing, I was, ‘Fine, do whatever,’ because my mind was in Norwalk Hospital, but physically I was showing up places. So they dropped the video. Obviously, I understand a lot of people did not like my actions of dropping the video but it’s something, it’s done and you know you can’t switch out of it.”
He acknowledged that the timing of the video gave the impression that he was in for the fight.
“In the end, seeing how my mom was, I was like, ‘Yeah I’m done.’ It doesn’t mean I won’t ever decide to run again,” he said. “But this time I will do it on a more mature scale and let everything sit. I’m still going to be actively involved.”
Navarro represents the newly formed Latinos Unidos (LUC) at community events and in dealings with local leaders. LUC was formed to advocate for the Latino community and to help encourage Latino participation in everything from social events to education and politics.
He said he is helping his mother continue to recover. “She’s not in the way that she used to be and it requires a lot of my time to be with her,” he said.
Navarro said Duff is acting like a mentor toward him.
“That was kind of Israel to say,” Duff said in an email. “I’m always happy to help those who want to serve.”
“I have talked to Sen. Duff,” Navarro said. “He respected my decision to run because he saw why I came to run because obviously, as he said, I never decided to run for an ego boost. He saw that and he said, ‘because you wanted to help your community, help the people and you wanted to see change, you wanted to see change for the people in the community, and that’s something.’ I do have a nice relationship. We have talked multiple times. He’s always asked me how my mom is doing and everything. … (I’m) still being involved in the Democratic Party and everything. I’ll be working with Sen. Duff on his campaign as well as other issues in the city.”