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Norwalk Republicans make merry as they announce candidates

Enrique Santiago, left, beams after being announced as an at large Common Council candidate by Norwalk Housing Authority board Chairman Cesar Ramirez, right.

Enrique Santiago, left, beams after being announced as an at-large Common Council candidate by Norwalk Housing Authority board Chairman Cesar Ramirez, right.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Republicans laughed a lot last week as they endorsed their political candidates, and you can see it all here in pictures.

Some of the laugh lines were seemingly innocuous, as when Common Councilman Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large) nominated Peter Andreoli for constable with the words, “He’s been at it for a while and he’s doing a good job.” Bonenfant got some laughs when he stumbled while nominating Town Clerk Rick McQuaid for re-election and explained, “This was thrown at me at the last minute.” Then there was McQuaid’s attempt to send up Council President Jerry Petrini (R-District D), who is not running for re-election.

“I really tried to get Jerry to stay tonight, when I first saw him,” McQuaid said. “I told him that we had his children, his wife in a hostage location. He said, ‘Alright.’ I said, ‘We also have the Maserati on blocks.’ He said, ‘Not the Maserati!’ But he’s still OK.”

There were also some titters as RTC Vice Chairman Peter Nolin pointed out that no one has seen Democrat Anna Duleep in a while. And District D Chairman John Romano got a strong reaction when he theatrically stood and said, “I am proud to announce from District D, the land of trees and honey, the area in town that has the most registered Republicans.”

You will also see Democrat Eloisa Melendez in the crowd. No, she wasn’t thinking about jumping the District A ship, she said – she was there because she lost a trivia contest with Councilman David McCarthy. The bet was that the loser would go to the other person’s town committee meeting, and she chose the nominating convention because that was more interesting, she said.

She did wear blue. Just to make a statement.

District D Chairman John Romano extols the virtues of his part of Norwalk.

District D Chairman John Romano extols the virtues of his part of Norwalk.

John Bazzano, left, and Common Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E) shake hands after being announced as running mates.

Council candidate John Bazzano, left, and Common Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E) shake hands after being announced as running mates.

Ralph DePanfilis, 91, accepts recognition after the announcement that he will not seek reelection as city treasurer.

Ralph DePanfilis, 91, accepts recognition after the announcement that he will not seek reelection as city treasurer.

Former Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba, left, and RTC Chairman Pete Torrano.

Former Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba, left, and RTC Chairman Pete Torrano.

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, left, reacts to comments from BoE Vice Chairman Artie Kassimis.

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, left, reacts to comments from BoE Vice Chairman Artie Kassimis.

Board of Estimate and Taxation member Jim Feigenbaum is announced as an at large Common Council candidate.

Board of Estimate and Taxation member Jim Feigenbaum is announced as an at-large Common Council candidate.

Democratic Common Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez sits in, wearing blue to show support for a different team.

Democratic Common Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez sits in, left, wearing blue to show support for a different team. At right is Councilwoman Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R-District D).

Mayoral candidate Kelly Straniti approaches the lectern.

Mayoral candidate Kelly Straniti approaches the lectern, giving a friendly look to Councilman Rich Bonenfant (R-At-Large), right.

8 comments

Bill Dunne August 1, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Nice photography, Nancy, as usual. But what is that vibe that I get from your description of the Republican goings on? Is it regret? Chagrin? Disappointment that Republicans treat each other with civility and humor, unlike members of another political party in Norwalk I could mention?

Peter Torrano August 1, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Hey, Bill,

I just got the vibe that Nancy recognized that a gathering of like minded folks to nominate good people can be fun, and not a contentious affair. In fairness to Nancy, she has seen her share of contentious meetings of late. Probably a relief to her that she did not have to duck for cover.

Nancy Chapman August 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm

I don’t know where any of this is coming from other than an attempt to remind folks that there are some very dysfunctional Democrats. Your convention was fun, as were the comments about me “looking for black eyes.”
@Bill #paranoia #disingenuous #missedmark

Vin August 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

@Bill & Pete – it’s too bad the RTC doesn’t put this much effort into reaching out to the District B Republicans.

Peter Torrano August 1, 2015 at 7:06 pm

Vin, you have no idea how hard we’ve tried. Open to suggestions if you have some answers. If you live in B, come join us.

Shayne August 2, 2015 at 8:37 am

I’m a Libertarian at heart and not registered as an R or a D, so my opinion doesn’t count for much.
They had a good convention. Big deal. I smile every time I hear the music and see the happy robots on the It’s a Small World Ride at Disney. That doesn’t mean I’m overjoyed with life.

But let’s be serious. The GOP wouldn’t put up anyone to run against Barbis in District E- come on, you’re telling me there’s no West Norwalk Republican who is sick and tired of his nastiness? Two years ago, their old chairman was fighting for party purity. Last year, the party’s leaders turned their back on the Registrar of Voters and were embarrassed at the polls. This isn’t a sign of a healthy party.

Joanna Cooper August 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Sure is a lot more healthy than the Democrats meetings. I read about some of them and am embarrassed for our city. Frankly it’s nice to see people having a little fun and not taking themselves so seriously when it comes to politics and people getting along not at each other’s throats throwing punches at one another. Seems to me like a world of difference. The contrast is stark and refreshing for a change. Thanks for your reporting Nancy.

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