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Power Of Pulpit Leads Democratic Town Committee Challenge Slate

February 12th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

Charlie Stallworth

The Rev. Charlie Stallworth

It’s not often, maybe never, the leading officers for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance join forces to seize control of a Democratic Town Committee District, but that’s what’s rising up in the North End 135th District with Rev. Mary McBride-Lee, a City Council member and Rev. Charlie Stallworth, a member of the State House, in the March 4 primary. This district primary is one of  seven across the city that could set off a chain reaction of what occurs politically in this year’s governor cycle and next year’s mayoral election.

Lee, pastor of El Shaddai Church of God in Christ, and Stallworth, pastor of the East End Tabernacle Baptist Church, are trying to wrest control of the district makeup largely supportive of Mayor Bill Finch including former City Councilmen Warren Blunt and Richard Bonney. Lee won a seat on the council last year. In 2011 Stallworth won the State House seat vacated by long-time legislator Chris Caruso who was appointed by Governor Dan Malloy to a position in the state Labor Department.

The stakes for the March town committee primaries are rising higher than the winter snow. Stallworth’s name is popping up as a potential challenge against State Senator Andres Ayala, and perhaps next year as a mayoral candidate. Stallworth faces risk in this town committee quest as an incumbent State House member up for reelection this year with future ambitions. What if he doesn’t win a seat? It hurts his chances for higher office and could even spark a primary opponent this year for his State House seat.

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) is a fascinating pulpit-political entity. Some members play politically and governmentally, and it’s not uncommon for political and government leaders to attend Sunday services to greet the peeps. Clergy leaders believe leveraging a political voice can lift up their neighborhood followers. You want our votes? Pave our streets, clean our sidewalks, increase police patrols, make us players at the political table, show us respect. And some are players.

IMA leaders generally support their peers running for political office. Churchgoers are higher proportionate voters. We pray and we vote. Stallworth, as president, and Lee, as vice president of the IMA respectively, will call upon their Democratic followers to vote for their slate against a slate of mostly seasoned campaigners.

March 4 will feature 18 candidates split between two lines in this district. The top nine vote producers will be elected to the 90-member Democratic Town Committee that endorses candidates for public office and selects a chairman. Candidates below:

135th District: Wilfred Murphy, Diane Richards, Warren Blunt, Audrey Barr, Richard Bonney, Steven Ferreira, Deborah DeIrish, Curtis Mae McNair, Richard Cruz.
Challenge slate: Stephen Nelson, Doris Roman Nelson, Waith Mitchell, Carmen Harron, Charlie Stallworth, Mary McBride Lee, Fred Gee Jr, Darrett Evans Moss, Craig Jones.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Jimfox

    Oh no! Burn all your absentees!

    It’s the return of Rev. Boise Kimber, that should scare the BEJESUS out of the 135th!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Be careful with this clergy running around. Could we be looking at a wolf in sheep’s clothing? BTW Rev what have you done for your district while in Hartford? I believe in the separation of church and state. It is true, church and its clergy are tax exempt so why would they have a problem voting for a tax increase?

  • charlie

    Go get ‘em, Rev. Drive those corrupt sinners out of politics and send them to Purgatory CT.

  • Eric Alicea

    A clergyman is not tax exempt. Neither are paid lay positions in a church. Being a minister is one of the top five audited occupations on the IRS list. Around here the vast majority of pastors bring in a small percentage of their income from being a pastor. Most have a primary job.

  • Local Eyes

    A clergyman is not tax exempt but his church is.
    The United States of America was founded on the separation of church and state. Today, that divide has vaporized as groups like the IMA realize the benefits of joint maneuvers. The lines between different faiths have blurred while the task of obtaining civic goodies has solidified to the point where denominational differences hardly matter.

  • BptPorter

    I do not like the sound of this. “Clergy leaders believe leveraging a political voice can lift up their neighborhood followers. You want our votes? Pave our streets, clean our sidewalks, increase police patrols, make us players at the political table, show us respect. And some are players.” First of all, they are missing the real issue. The real issues have to do with taxes and the fiscal mess the city is in. It is not about sidewalks, for crying out loud. It is concerning these leaders get into power and then have their congregants vote for them. They will say what they want from the pulpit to get votes. This diminishes the credibility of spiritual role models who are supposed to lead the Lord’s people. This also creates too much unchecked and concentrated power. I think this replaces the old but continues the same pattern. Be careful what you wish for, Bridgeport. And congregants, keep your spiritual leader away from politics, it does more damage to the church in the end. It creates internal divisions and impacts credibility. At the end of the day Jesus gave his life for us, he did not run for office.

  • concerned citizen

    No matter who the candidate is we should look at the past history of serving all the citizens of Bridgeport and not just one area or a certain few. We should question what has Rev Stallworth done. Has he spoken out on education, crime, redevelopment or the conflict on the council with city workers? Has he taken any positions on anything? A leader is defined by his actions, not his proposals.

  • Mojo

    *** Maybe they can get some help from Ernie and his peeps, no? ***

  • Godiva2011

    Simply stated–”Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to G-d what is G-d’s.”

  • Donald Day

    Mojo, what the hell does Ernie have to do with this? He’s not running for a position in the 135th, he doesn’t live in the 135th and as far as I know he doesn’t give a damn about the 135th. The only thing he has in common with this story is the Reverends and he are all black!

    • Mojo

      *** What does living in or out of the district have to do with still wanting to get on the DTC? How many on the DTC don’t live where they claim they live, nothing new in Bpt! Also didn’t Ernie help campaign for Rev. Stallworth when he was running for state rep? *** ONE NEVER KNOWS, DO ONE ***

  • Bridgeporteur

    Always fear the one who sits in the front row and prays the loudest.

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