NORWALK, Conn. — It’s official: Bruce Morris is challenging Mayor Harry Rilling for the Democratic Party nomination this summer.
Morris, state representative for District 140 and leader of District B Democrats, filed papers to run for mayor Monday, he confirmed to NancyOnNorwalk at Monday night’s Democratic Town Committee meeting.
Other than that, he declined comment. Nothing was said about it during the meeting.
“I’ll have comments in two weeks,” Morris said to NoN, promising a formal campaign announcement with the unveiling of a detailed platform.
“It’s no surprise,” Rilling said. “I’ve known for quite some time that he was thinking about it. That’s the great thing about this country – people who decide to want to run for office get to run. I look forward to an issue-based campaign, sticking to the issues and determining what our vision is. Everyplace I go in Norwalk, people say they’re very happy that Norwalk is moving forward. We’re very proud of what we have done and we are very proud of what we plan to do. So, I am very confident that the people will see what’s going on in Norwalk and put their confidence in us, and their support.”
Rilling has already raised more than $100,000 in his drive to win a third term.
Morris is just beginning.
Norwalk Republicans have been unsuccessfully searching for a challenger to Rilling, sources say. Vinny Mangiacopra, who came in second in a four-way mayoral primary in 2013, recently switched his party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated, and is interested in challenging Rilling, sources say.
Morris is in his sixth term in the Connecticut General Assembly. His bio on the House Dems website states:
“During his second term in the legislature, he was named Assistant Majority Whip and served in that capacity until his promotion to Deputy Majority Whip in April 2012. He served in that position until January 2013 when he was named Deputy Majority Whip at Large. He served in that capacity until he was named Deputy Speaker in January 2015 and continues in this leadership position.
“Rep. Morris is a member of the legislature’s Judiciary, Finance and Human Services and Legislative Management Committees.
“Rep. Morris has devoted his life to the service of others, a value he learned from his mother and father, who was a state representative and state senator before becoming the State Commissioner of Public Works under Governor Weicker.
“In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Morris serves as an Associate Pastor at Macedonia Church in Norwalk and former Human Relations Officer for the Norwalk School System. He is also a former elected executive board member of the National Caucus of Black State Legislators.”
Morris was born and raised in New Haven. His father was one of the first African-Americans to be a Connecticut state representative, he said in a 2014 interview, and rose to be deputy speaker before deciding to place a priority on earning a living to support his family. Eventually, his father was convinced to run for state senator.
Morris first came to Norwalk in 1979 to help found Macedonia Church, he said. He was reverse commuting for a while, and bought a home here in 1989.