Stallworth Takes Unpaid Leave In Primary Brawl Against Pereira

You know there’s a battle when an incumbent state representative takes a two-week unpaid leave from his six-figure city government job to hold on to his paid elected position. That’s what mayoral appointee Charlie Stallworth has done to fend off the self-styled piranha of city politics Maria Pereira, a member of the Board of Education, who’s campaigning full time to try to oust Stallworth, also a city minister. Praise the Lord because this is a contest to watch leading to the August 9 Democratic primaries.

Close advisers to Mayor Joe Ganim who were initially dismissive of Pereira now believe Stallworth is vulnerable to Pereira, an incessant retail campaigner who’s knocking on doors running as an outsider against party insider Stallworth, one of Ganim’s first appointees following his historic comeback as mayor. Stallworth runs the Small & Minority Business Resource Center. It was in Stallworth’s East End church on January 1, 2015 that Ganim issued his first public apology following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges that removed him from office. One year ago Ganim’s comeback campaign had taken on a life of its own led heavily by African American voters who gravitated to Ganim’s second-chance message that carried him to a September Democratic primary victory over incumbent Bill Finch on his way to a hefty general election win.

Charlie Stallworth
The Rev. Charlie Stallworth has his hands full against Pereira.

Pereira and Stallworth both supported Ganim, but Pereira quickly had a falling-out with Ganim after his election win over education issues. On the surface, the heavily African American district that includes the Wilbur Cross and Hallen precincts should be advantage Stallworth who has represented the district since 2011 when he won a special election to replace long-time legislator Chris Caruso who vacated to accept a gubernatorial appointment in the state Department of Labor.

Pereira set her sights on Stallworth in part because of his support of charter schools that are anathema to Pereira who asserts they suck needed finances from traditional school districts. Charters receive public funds but operate independently of neighborhood schools.

Pereira has sharpened a base of support in the Upper East Side Hooker School precinct doing it the old fashioned way of knocking on doors to engage neighbors in bread and butter issues. She’s also a high-octane personality unafraid to speak her mind, which has led to a number of bone bruises with political activists who’ve worked with her.

Connecticut’s 126th State House District is the most schizophrenic geographically in the city, running from the Upper East Side, across the Pequonnock River to take in portions of the North End including the Lake Forest area.

Parziale, Pereira, Guman
Maria Pereira, flanked by former City Council President Lisa Parziale and former Dem Party Vice Chair Dottie Guman.

Other things are in play here. The State House district is split over two State Senate Districts. As a result, Pereira finds herself supporting the two state senators representing Bridgeport who are battling against party-endorsed opposition: Marilyn Moore against City Council President Tom McCarthy and Ed Gomes against Dennis Bradley, president of the Board of Education.

Absentee ballots could be a factor in all these races. With the August 9 Democratic primaries less than two weeks away, the Town Clerk’s office has so far processed more than 1,000 absentee ballot requests. How many will return?

OIB readers: who do ya think will win? Primaries are strange birds, different than higher-turnout general elections. Primaries are all about identifying your friends and dragging them out. Less than two weeks. Stay tuned.

Mail piece by Pereira against Stallworth.


  1. It is amazing to me how many voters who live 4 to 6 blocks away from Stallworth have no idea he lives in their neighborhood or who their state rep. is.

    Today a retired police officer answered his door in one of my red “Vote NO to Charter $chools” t-shirts. We had a great conversation. He told me ever since Stallworth let Dr. Steve Perry use his church to promote his charter school, he wants nothing to do with him.

    We were on the exact same page.

  2. Here is the dilemma I face as a voter at Hooker school. This area has had do-nothing state reps for a good 10 years. The people up here voted for our present State Rep who is also a do-nothing. Now we have Pereira who is running a primary against Stallworth. She is a hard worker and a hard campaigner but she is very abrasive. If she wins there is no doubt her arrogant and nasty attitude will relegate her to the lowest committees possible. So the dilemma. Do I vote for a do-nothing who will not hurt the city but will accomplish nothing? Or vote for a person who will piss everybody in Hartford off? I think I might stay home.

    1. Andy, you have summed this up good. Yesterday I made a attempt to suggest something to Maria to help her, she in turns starts to attack me. She’s new to politics and she listens to no one and that’s okay. Andy, if Maria is elected to the 136th State House District she will hurt that district and the City because of what you said, “there is no doubt her arrogant and nasty attitude will relegate her to the lowest committees possible.” Maria is not able to be a leader and to be a team player. Hard worker or not, she doesn’t know How to Win Friends and Influence People.

      1. Andy, this was from yesterday.
        Ron Mackey //Jul 26, 2016 at 8:01 am
        Maria Pereira, you have been doing okay on OIB by not making wild comments and talking about yourself but now you make this comment, “Does anyone think she believes those around her actually believe she is a blonde?” Maria really, why in hell are you going there? Bad decision.

    2. Chris Caruso was a great state representative. I pulled his first six years in office to compare to Stallworth’s first six years.

      Chris submitted over 100 Bills his first six years with over half receiving a public hearing with many of those moving to the House for a vote with over half becoming law.

      Stallworth submitted 7 Bills in six years with one receiving a public hearing and none moving to the House for a vote. In six years, he has not had a single piece of proposed legislation become a law. Not one.

      I will take the path of Chis Caruso over Stallworth any day of the week.

      1. Maria Pereira, you are NO Chris Caruso, in fact there has been no Bridgeport State Rep. like Chris Caruso.

        When Chris was a Bridgeport Alderman I couldn’t stand him and the Bridgeport Post had a few letters to the editor I wrote against him. But Chris saw me at a diner and said, “Ron, I don’t think you understand what I’ve been saying and I would like to sit down with you to talk whenever you want to.” Well, we talked and I can say no one taught me more about the DTC than Chris and we became good friends. Maria, George Pipkin, Mary Bruce, Lisa Parziale and Chris gave me advice and wisdom because I was willing to listen. Maria, whom do you listen to?

  3. So Andy,
    All other things being equal and you are right in your assessment of both candidates, you will risk reelecting Stallwortheven if it means he will continue to double dip.
    I’m not in the district but to me that would be reason enough to vote him out.

  4. Yes, Maria can run abrasive; but she also cares about the community and you can bet if she is elected she will fight for Bridgeport, be present, be accountable and actually do something. Considering the nothing that has been done with Stallworth it is a good change.

    1. DC, how does one get something passed when they can’t get along with other people? Being abrasive will hurt Bridgeport’s chances of getting things done because you have to be a team player as a State Rep. Her act won’t work in Hartford. In fact how long will it take for Maria if elected to start making enemies? Maria already doesn’t get along with one of Bridgeport’s State Reps, Andre Baker.

  5. Here is how I see it. Stallworth is a city employee thanks to that pinhead Joe Ganim. He does go to Hartford and has learned to get along.
    Now I don’t have a crystal ball but based on past history Maria P will start up great in Hartford but as soon as she does not get her way, watch out. She will grate a lot of people the wrong way. In my case I will just vote for Gomes and to hell with the other two.

  6. According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association on eight key votes, those that because of their potential impact–positive or negative–on Connecticut’s economic competitiveness and business climate Mr. Stallworth either missed or abstained on just one vote. I could find nothing online that would allude to the fact he didn’t vote on 240 bills in the house. Nor could I find where he missed 63% of committee meetings. Not saying Maria is lying, just saying I couldn’t find that which she says is truth.

    1. Don, I’m sure Maria will post the facts on OIB so people can see the truth or the lie. I hope these are not roll call votes to start a meeting or quorum votes.

    1. Jim and Gary, those who live in my neighborhood know me, trust me, and for the most part support me.

      In three years, I have registered hundreds of voters in THooker, and THOOKER is now the number-four performing school in pure voter turnout. It was ten in 2012 when I moved into the neighborhood. More importantly, out of the total number of Democrats who could have voted in the Primary in 2015 and actually did, THooker had the second highest % turnout in our entire city.

      Now I want to expand that into other neighborhoods.

      You can’t accomplish that kind of work without connecting with people. You just can’t.

  7. The people will support and vote for the person who will fight for them. Go along to get along gets nothing done. Anyone could have a good attendance record but if you don’t do your HOME’s work you won’t pass.

    Maria will bring Bridgeport to Hartford to get shit fixed and/or made better for the BRIDGEPORT RESIDENTS. She is not scared to ruffle feathers, she doesn’t practice political correct, SHE GETS SHIT DONE.

    1. Gary, what has she done? She gets along with no one, she doesn’t how to win friends and influence people, she pushes people away once they really know her.

      1. “TEAM player to be a State Rep” and “dances to her own beat.”
        Really Mr. Mackey, when you read and listen to the people running for office, aka campaigning, you seek out the candidates who will go along to get along, because that’s the team spirit. You listen for the candidate who will not step out of bounds unless of course they are told to and the candidate who only speaks or acts when spoken too and in this case when Joe G. tells you to support or not support an issue or when Joe G. says go get me coffee you do it with a smile because you’re a good team player. Rah, Rah, Sis Boom Bah while waving pom poms on the sidelines.

        All this time and your support for a just get along attitude the people, the voters, the residents get NO REPRESENTATION and the worst part is the kids’ futures are dead ends before they even get started. Oh yeah, and the coffee’d better be hot. Dance, Dance, Dance.

        1. Gary Tobin, the only people who get their way are dictators. In a democracy it’s about what side gets the majority of the votes in order to get passed and that requires the ability to work with others to pass something that’s for the greater good. Well Gary, that’s not Maria. It’s Maria’s way or no way and she will have no power as a State Rep. doesn’t get their way without being a TEAM player and Maria is NO TEAM PLAYER.

  8. If Mr. Stallworth loses will he be unemployed? Will his position be cut or redesigned due to budget issues? Why will Joe need him if he isn’t in Hartford? Maybe when Maria wins the election, Big Joe will offer Maria the position or the newly designed position.

    1. Gary, I don’t know and you might be right but Maria has to learn how to listen and work with others, you have got to be a TEAM player to be a State Rep and not someone who dances to her own beat.

    2. Gary Tobin, look, we have had a friendly dialog but now Maria wants to shut you down and she doesn’t want you to express your opinion. Gary, that’s sad and that is how Maria acts, only she knows what’s right. Something as simple as two men talking on a blog but she wants to shut you up. Gary, I know you are man enough to speak for yourself. Time will tell.

  9. Gary and Jim, I appreciate your support of me but please don’t respond to Ron Mackey on my behalf.

    I ignore the comments he makes about me and I wish you would do the same. He doesn’t even know what district I am in.

    When people make uninformed, inaccurate and unintelligent posts it is best to just ignore them.

    1. Maria, everybody knows what district because of the way you disrespected Pat and Andy Fardy. The 138th at one time was a very well respected district with good DTC members and with a good district leader, may God bless Ann.

  10. The CT State Library is the record keeper of every legislator’s voting record. I have through 2015 because the 2016 record was not available until after the session closes. I actually paid $27 for it.

    To obtain his attendance by committee you have to go to the minutes of every single meeting and those in attendance or absent are identified at the top of the minutes.

    Three of us drove to Hartford and clicked on every set of minutes for each of his committees by year. The results were transferred to a spreadsheet by committee, year, date, and whether he was present or absent.

    Everything listed on the mailer above is factual, not opinion.


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