Update, 2:25 p.m. press release from Thomson campaign; Correction/update, 12:13 p.m.: Third Taxing District, not sixth; Galen Wells spoke about Barbara Meyer Mitchell; Meyer Mitchell added to Working Families list; comment added from Manny Langella; lead photo changed.
NORWALK, Conn. — Here are the latest developments in Norwalk’s upcoming election:
- Thomson turns in petitions to run for mayor
- Mosby to challenge endorsed Dems for BoE seat
- Morris get petitions for mayoral primary
- A fight for District A & B Democratic Council candidacies
- Lauricella aims for primary in bid for Council at large candidacy
- Working Families set to endorse candidates
- Dems set to challenge Yost in Third Taxing District
- Dem thoughts on endorsed candidates
‘Tired of party politics’
Rowayton activist Lisa Brinton Thomson turned in more than enough petitions Monday to qualify as an independent mayoral candidate this fall, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid said in an email.
McQuaid and his staff need to verify the signatures before it’s official. She has “well over” the number of petitions needed to qualify, McQuaid said.
Thomson needs 133 signatures by Aug. 9, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State Tina Prakash said. Campaign director James Cahn said Thomson got “substantially more” than what was required; he estimated the campaign got about 240 – or “181% of goal.”
“Lisa is humbled and honored by how many people across the political spectrum sought her out to sign her petition, as well as, the people who were willing to collect signatures for her,” Cahn said. “We were done quickly because of non-partisan teamwork and the message that instantly got traction was that residents are tired with party politics and the status quo in Norwalk.”
On Tuesday, the campaign sent out a press release quoting Cahn as saying, “For a very long time, Lisa has pointed out that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pave a road or educate a child. This campaign continues to demonstrate the value in having all voices represented, and in working together to achieve all of the goals that are important for our success as a city.”
The release quotes Thomson as saying, “I am honored to have received signatures from every corner of Norwalk. I am looking forward to a campaign which fully highlights a desire to professionalize our government and to have Norwalk live up to its potential.”
Mosby going to public in search of reelection
Board of Education member Shirley Mosby, who came in last in a five-way Democratic competition for four BoE at large candidacies, has obtained petitions to force a primary in her quest to get reelected, according to Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.
Mosby needs 942 signatures, he said.
She has not responded to emails from NancyOnNorwalk.
Mosby, whose four-year term was marked early on by her accusation of racism on the Board of Education, received 27 votes last week at the Democratic Town Committee meeting. That was six votes short of the fourth highest vote getter, Sarah Lemieux.
Four District B DTC members voted only for Mosby, offering no support to other candidates in a practice known as bullet voting. Three District B members voted for two BoE candidates, when four slots were available.
Supporters included Brenda Penn-Williams, Johnnie Mae-Weldon, Samuel Pride, John Hauter, Beth Siegelbaum, Diane Lauricella, Andy Garfunkel, Laoise King, Steve Serasis, Jalin Sead and Lucia Rilling.
Mosby’s not responding to NoN, but sent a letter to the editor to The Hour, where she claimed that Mayor Harry Rilling had told her she’d get the endorsement.
“I never told any candidate they would be endorsed,” Rilling said in a Monday text message to NancyOnNorwalk. “I was aware of the results of the various district votes and knew she would have a difficult time getting the endorsement.”
Morris is for Us
State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) is working toward fulfilling his promise to challenge Rilling in a primary.
Morris picked up petitions Friday, Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.
Morris needs 942 signatures, Wells said.
The District B Democrat did not respond to a Monday email asking how it’s going.
District B Dems challenging Bowman, Simms
Also obtaining petitions were Manny Langella and Hector Correa, seeking to challenge Common Council incumbents Faye Bowman and Travis Simms in District B. Kadeem Rashied Roberts picked up petitions to challenge DTC-endorsed candidates Chris Yerinedes and incumbent Council member Eloisa Melendez.
Incumbent Council member Steve Serasis has not responded to emails asking about his plans after the DTC declined to endorse him for reelection.
Correa and Langella were also endorsed by Republicans on Monday. Langella and Correa have a Working Families Party endorsement, according to Anna Duleep. So they’ll be on the ballot this fall no matter what.
“I’m exploring all my options now,” Langella said Tuesday.
Langella was the endorsed candidate in 2015, losing to the pair in a primary. He sought the endorsement this time but fell short.
Correa, an HVAC technician, in 2014 co-founded the Two Wheels Organization, a federally certified non-profit which gives underprivileged children bicycles for Christmas.
“I’m in basements all the time and I see these bikes with dust on them and people just leave them there once their kids get older, so I thought: we can take these bikes in, fix them up and we can send them right back out and give them new lives to kid who deserve them,” said Correa in 2014, according to It’s Relevant.
They each need 174 signatures, Wells said.
In A, Roberts needs 202 signatures to force Melendez and Yerindes to fight for it in a primary – a fate Melendez has already endured once, winning a primary in her successful bid for reelection in 2015.
Roberts graduated in 2014 from Virginia Union University and attended law school, and is currently a student at Fairfield University seeking a graduate degree in Public Administration, according to the letter he sent the District A Democratic committee.
He’s a lifelong Norwalker and a Norwalk High School graduate, he said.
“Speaking to those within my city and helping orchestrate many community outreach programs has always been my passion but it is the service that has always been the main focus and what makes me stand out as a person,” Roberts wrote. “At Fairfield University I am the Graduate Senate, and a Deans list receptions. I have excelled in my ability to have a positive influence on the community and will continue to embodied my ongoing community service, educational speaking engagements and most importantly public service to those in Norwalk Connecticut.”
Lauricella makes a move
Diane Lauricella, a longtime Democratic activist who unsuccessfully sought the DTC endorsement as an at large Council candidate, has also obtained petitions, according to Wells.
She needs 942 signatures to force a primary for Democratic at large candidates.
Former Council member Sharon Stewart also sought a DTC endorsement unsuccessfully but has not shared her plans with NancyOnNorwalk.
Lauricella did not respond to a Monday evening email.
Martha Wooten Dumas nominated Lauricella at last week’s convention.
“She has worked tirelessly for the South Norwalk district,” Dumas said. “… I believe she would really be an asset to the Common Council.”
Working Families working on endorsements
Duleep, a Democratic former Council member, shared the developing Working Families Party endorsements last week with NancyOnNorwalk.
- Chris Yerinides, District A Council
- Eloisa Melendez, District A Council (incumbent)
- Manny Langella, District B Council
- Hector Correa, District B Council
- William Pappa, District D Council
- George Tsiranides, District D Council
- Tom Livingston, District E Council (incumbent)
- Nick Sacchinelli, Council at Large (incumbent)
- Sarah Lemieux, Board of Education at large
- Barbara Meyer Mitchell, Board of Education
- Shirley Mosby, Board of Education at large (incumbent)
- Heidi Keyes, Board of Education at large (incumbent)
Livingston picked up petitions Monday, Wells said. That’s necessary because Working Families has not had a candidate in District E before, Livingston explained.
The party is also considering incumbent District E Council member John Igneri, Duleep said.
Noticeably absent from the list is BoE candidate Bruce Kimmel.
That’s because of Kimmel’s 2012 Council vote to “privatize,” Duleep said, referring to the outsourcing of the city’s garbage collection.
“We represent labor,” Duleep said. “… As much as (Democrats) would like us to be, we are not a rubber stamp for them.”
Parkington for TTD
The choice Third Taxing District Commissioner Deb Goldstein made last month to switch her party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated has opened up an opportunity for Democrats, Wells said at last week’s DTC meeting.
The three member Commission cannot be entirely made up of one party, and with Goldstein as a commissioner along with Democrat David Brown the party could not nominate a candidate, Wells said. But now that she’s unaffiliated there’s an opening.
Democrats nominated Pam Parkington to challenge Republican Charlie Yost.
Goldstein is treasurer for Thomson’s campaign. She declined to say why she had changed her party affiliation.
Reasons for Dem support
Some random endorsements made last week at the Democratic Town Committee meeting:
- “I would like to nominate Barbara Smyth, whose work I have admired for nearly 10 years, which is longer than I have known her,” Kay Anderson said, commenting that the BoE candidate was responsible for “spirited and very successful rallies” in 2012 when there was talk of budget cuts. “She’s passionate and she is extraordinarily capable.”
- Incumbent Council member Nick Sacchinelli is a team player, City Clerk Donna King said. “He’s smart and he knows what he’s doing, and he’s willing to take this on again, believe it or not.”
- Greg Burnett has been serving Norwalk for all of the 24 years he’s lived here, John Igneri said, of the Common Council at large candidate.
- Meyer Mitchell “has been a passionate advocate for education,” Galen Wells said. “I think she would be a wonderful member of the ‘Board of Ed.’”
- “It’s been a real rollercoaster,” BoE member Mike Barbis said. “Heidi (Keyes) has been a solid rock through all of this. She has exhibited calm, she has listened, stayed the course, and she’s exhibited grace under fire.”
- Kimmel has a strong background in education and has served the city for 20 years, Melendez said. “By pure coincidence I had the pleasure of being one of his students (at Norwalk Community College,” she said. “It was weird, but he was one of the best professors I have ever had, and will ever have.”
- Republican Town Clerk Rick McQuaid is “willing to give any help he can give,” King said. Wells followed with, “He works extremely well with the registrar’s office, almost as well as his predecessor did, in election matters.”