Norwalk mayoral campaigns become more visible

The 2017 Norwalk mayoral candidate lineup: From left, Mayor Harry Rilling, Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Conroy, Lisa Brinton Thomson and State Rep. Bruce Morris.

Correction, 2:30 p.m.: Rilling HQ is at 43 North Main St.

NORWALK, Conn. — Campaign signs for three Norwalk mayoral candidates are springing up around town, while the fourth candidate hands out palm cards.

The mayoral campaigns are kicking into gear two months from the election, with press releases from the two major party candidates Tuesday and reportedly a lot of door knocking going on.

Mayor Harry Rilling, a Democrat, at 2:55 p.m. Tuesday announced the opening of a campaign headquarters on Thursday, while Republican challenger Andy Conroy issued a press release at 5:18 p.m. to draw a “contrast with the current administration” and its “aimless approach to city government.”

In reply to Rilling’s press release, independent candidate Lisa Brinton Thomson said her campaign has already been in high gear, while State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) got back to NancyOnNorwalk late with a pledge for a “peoples campaign versus the machine politic of Norwalk.”

Rilling will be joined by “other municipal candidates and supporters,” including the “full slate of Democrat’s running for office this fall” at the 6 p.m. Thursday official opening of the campaign headquarters at 43 North Main St., the press release said. Norwalk residents are “invited to come out and discuss the work ahead in this campaign.”

Rilling campaign manager Jesse Hubbard said he posted this sign Tuesday on New Canaan Avenue. (Contributed)

“Now that we have passed the Labor Day weekend, my campaign for re-election will be going into high gear,” Rilling is quoted as saying in the release. “As always, I will be getting out and meeting with the residents of Norwalk. Although, it means longer days and nights and a couple of worn out shoes I relish the opportunity to meet you at the doors and on the phone. Most of all though, I get to talk to individuals who aren’t normally involved in the political process and get their thoughts on how we can continue to move Norwalk forward together.”

Rilling will speak in the first hour and light refreshments will be served as attendees can volunteer, “take lawn signs and find out more about the effort that local Democrats will be making to get out the vote,” the release said.

The Rilling campaign has historically shared its campaign headquarters with the Democratic Town Committee, for a hub available to all Democratic candidates.

Independent Norwalk mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton Thomson, with her campaign signs and Bailey, a friend’s labradoodle. (Contributed)

Brinton Thomson, in an early afternoon email, said, “My campaign team and I are very excited and have been in ‘high gear’ since we decided to petition onto the ballot in July.  We’re in contact and reaching out to voters every day to hear what they have to say about issues impacting the city. Our lawn signs are starting to pop up, we’re knocking on doors and our fundraising with Norwalk residents is going according to schedule.  Lastly, we’re finalizing the terms on our campaign headquarters lease and hope to be able to make an announcement shortly.”

Rilling is seeking a third term, with Jesse Hubbard of DNA Campaigns at the helm of his re-election effort. Meanwhile, Conroy has hired Rick Joslyn, press secretary for Connecticut House Republicans, as his campaign manager, Joslyn announced Tuesday.

The Republican is in it to win, touting his years of experience in city government as a Common Council member, Joslyn said, explaining, “He thinks he has the experience and the competency, the competent leadership.”

A Conroy for Mayor lawn sign. (Contributed)

But at a minimum, Conroy wants “questions to be asked and for us as a city to really take a look at these questions, decide where we want to be in 20 years. He is running to get the city thinking about those kind of questions because we are at a crossroads,” said Josyln, a member of the Norwalk High School class of 2011.

Joslyn promised a press release, because “After the holiday we are really ramping up here with our messaging.

The release was titled, “Conroy Vows Clear Direction for Norwalk.” See separate story.

Thomson’s campaign is led by James Cahn, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully in 2015 to represent the Democratic-leaning District A on the Common Council.

Thomson will have the third slot on the ballot, having submitted enough signatures to be a petitioning candidate ahead of Morris, making him last on the ballot’s list of potential mayors.

Morris said late Tuesday that he asked a “good friend,” former Milford State Rep. Jim Amann, to be his campaign manager and advisor.

Amann was Speaker of the House from January 2005 to January 2009, with 28 years in state and local government, according to International Government Strategies, LLC.

“As Speaker, Jim brought our Democratic caucus from 92 to 114 members. The Speaker is experienced and he knows how to run a campaign and he knows how to win, as do I,” Morris said in an email.

Hubbard was out putting up lawn signs Tuesday, while Joslyn provided NoN with an image of a Conroy for mayor sign.

Morris said, “I will have my palm cards ready for print this week. The palm cards are more of a priority for me over lawn signs because I am planning on taking my campaign door to door. I am currently using my home as my headquarters because one’s home is where the heart is and I am running a heartfelt campaign. My campaign will be effective and efficient. A peoples campaign versus the machine politic of Norwalk.”

One comment

Sue Haynie September 6, 2017 at 6:09 am

Lisa is always in “high gear”. Norwalk needs her energy and vibrancy, her real-world business sense, her independence and her fiscal conservatism. Vote Lisa.

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