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Conroy denies accusations that he stayed in Norwalk mayoral race longer than planned

Then-Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy, second from right, discusses the Walk Bridge in October. With him from left are James Anderson, Ellen Wink, Bill Dunne and Peter Halladay, none of whom won election to the offices they were seeking.

NORWALK, Conn. – Andy Conroy denies a rumor related to his Norwalk mayoral campaign, after his obviously divided Republican Party took a shellacking in the polls.

NancyOnNorwalk has been told by several Republicans that Conroy was expected to step aside at some point, so Republicans could cross endorse unaffiliated candidate Lisa Brinton Thomson. His withdrawal would have been attributed to the knee surgery he had after being nominated in July, they say.

“I don’t know where this thing is coming from,” Conroy said, when asked if he had been a “placeholder.” 

While Conroy confirmed recently that some Republicans asked him to step aside late in the race to clear a path for Brinton Thomson, he emphatically denied ever having been a placeholder, sending NancyOnNorwalk to review a video of his speech at the Republican convention in July.

The video shows Conroy saying, “Enough with the placeholder stuff,” as soon as he took the microphone. “We’ve got to go out and work. The only placeholders we have tonight volunteered this evening… if they want to continue on, I am more than happy to have them.”

A placeholder in politics is a candidate who has no real intention of running, put forward because names need to be put forward by a certain time, a source said. A  placeholder secures the spot until someone else steps up or is recruited to run as the real candidate, at which point the placeholder withdraws his or her name from the race. There has been times when placeholders do actually run, usually because another person fails to step up. Sometimes they win.

Conroy finished third in the mayoral race, behind Brinton Thomson.  Almost all Republican candidates running under Conroy lost, with the exception of veteran Council member Doug Hempstead, who won Norwalk’s most Republican district by a mere 12 votes although he faced a newcomer.

“I haven’t had anyone say to me, ‘You didn’t run a credible campaign,’ rather they have said the issues did not resonate across the voting public,” Conroy wrote. “The approach needed to be much more ’emotional’ and the mechanics of the campaign needed to be stronger and more fluid. I am fairly sure I now know how to achieve a much better result.  I consider that proprietary info.”

One Republican told NancyOnNorwalk before the election that Conroy was going to kill the party if he finished behind Brinton Thomson, expressing a desire that Conroy drop out.

Evidence of division among Norwalk Republicans emerged in the NoN comments section weeks after that, just prior to the election, as acting Republican Town Committee Chairman Victor Cavallo and RTC member Peter Nolin argued after Cavallo posted a letter endorsing Conroy.

Nolin began the exchange by stating that “dozens” of Republican town committee members, and other Republicans serving in government, were supporting Brinton Thomson.  Cavallo’s reply announced that he was on “Dirty laundry patrol,” going on to refer to RTC bylaws which state that RTC members should “achieve the success of Republican candidates at the polls by directing and actually participating in the election campaign efforts of the Republican party.”

“Disclose the dozens. Then tell me which of us should not be nominated for re-election to the RTC from District E,” Cavallo said.

Nolin replied:

“Vic please pound sand 🙂 Its a free country and when candidates lie to their parties they don’t deserve support. You know all these facts but wish to pretend otherwise. You like me know of the dozens of R’s who tried to get Andy to step down in favor of Lisa. I kept my mouth shut publicly until you misrepresented the facts. But there it is; you put the issue out there so it is on you. If you want me off RTC next go around please do what ever you think appropriate.”

To which Cavallo said:

“I am committed to rescuing the Republican Town Committee from the clutches of the toxic David-McCarthy wing of this party. Comprised of less than a dozen of you, as I see. Seems that you’ve succumbed. That’s not what we’re all about. I pay mind to our heritage, our tradition and our legacy members who are around and who may have departed, sadly, who helped us captain this ship; who laid out a map leading us to success and and principled greatness. And now some of us seem to be beholden to a toxic someone with one foot on a U-Haul gas pedal with a GPS aimed for Boca.”

McCarthy, a former Council member, is said to be headed for Florida once the house owned by his wife is sold. Neither Cavallo nor Nolin would explain their comments to NoN. McCarthy declined to comment.

After the election, a Republican said Conroy was nominated as a placeholder who then refused to back off and did not run a credible campaign, thereby dragging down the ticket.

Conroy said on Nov. 14 that he had been willing to step down before the convention if a highly electable candidate came forward. There was one other person talking about running, but that person decided not to just before the convention.

Former City Clerk Ellen Wink said in May that she was planning to run, but eventually dropped it and ran for the Council.

Wink, in a Nov. 19 text message, said Conroy was not a placeholder.

There was never any doubt that he would make a serious run for mayor, there was just a debate about whether or not he should have his knee surgery before the election, Conroy said, explaining that the debate was between members of the RTC executive committee, that McCarthy and Nolin were not involved and did not know about it.

“I am not going to say I lied because I didn’t lie,” Conroy said.

Nolin knows that Conroy tried to talk Brinton Thomson into running as a Republican, right up until the convention, Conroy said.

Brinton Thomson “kept leading me on,” promising to support Republican candidates as a quid pro quo, he said.

“That was part of her pitch to me, why she should be our candidate,” he said. “I said I am not buying it.  I don’t believe she is going to do it. I think it did turn out that way… Look at the results.”

Brinton Thomson won 1,147 votes in District E while Republican Council candidates Ernie DesRochers and Josh Jewett got less than 550 votes each, according to tallies compiled by the Democratic Town Committee.

“Ernie and Josh, they tanked worse than anyone else,” Conroy said. “You would think they would have picked up her coattails. Then why didn’t they do better? Her crew was supporting the Democrats.”

“Republicans also supported her, that’s obvious,” he said, explaining that he saw ballots during the District D recount and people had voted for Brinton Thomson and then marked the Republican line, straight through.

Brinton Thomson declined to comment.

Conroy said McCarthy and Nolin “beat him up on the phone” as the election neared, claiming that Brinton Thomson was way ahead, that she was going to raise $50,000 for her campaign.

“McCarthy will tell you any damned thing,” Conroy said. “…McCarthy does a lot of misleading stuff, its’ sort of his operandi. I think he should go work in Washington.”

McCarthy in a Nov. 16 email said, “Mr. Conroy has obviously been under a lot of stress during the campaign and is not dealing very well with it, I wish him a speedy recovery of his mental health.  His recollection of the call is not at all accurate…you can talk to Peter Nolin if you want corroboration.  We were asking him to drop out because he had failed to mount any campaign, and we have never felt a need to make that public.  He made up excuses and said that the next week he had people going out to do things like putting up signs in West Norwalk…that never happened and the rest is history.”

Asked about a phone call, Nolin in an email said, “It is not for me to reveal what was a forty minute private call with Andy. Nor is it for me to explain his loss, if he wants to do so it is his right.  Not sure why he wants to go on record about his disastrous race.  So I will just ensure {the} record is correct as to me.”

He continued, “Two things are true.  I suggested he should drop out and predicted he would run third, which is why I asked him to drop for his sake and sake of party.  By running Third I predicted and told him he would harm down ticket candidates. Obviously, I was correct. Nothing else he says about the call is accurate.”

“Their estimate was she would do better than I,” Conroy said. “To get it over the top, she needed me to drop out, for a Republican endorsement. I said I didn’t buy it because she is anti-party. ‘The party system broken.’ Now she’ll appear on Republican line – are you kidding me? She would lose as much as she gains.”

“Let’s try truth-telling on for size. Her campaign had a poll which indicated she was ahead of Harry by four points nearing Election Day. Obvious fabrication,” Conroy said in an email. “I think we know who fabricated info about their campaigns.”

An alleged poll was distributed via social media before the election, claiming that Brinton Thomson had passed Mayor Harry Rilling, with Conroy a distant third.

Rilling won with 55 percent of the vote; before the election, he told NancyOnNorwalk that was what a poll indicated would happen.

Brinton Thomson received 22.8 percent of the vote, and Conroy came in third in the four-way mayoral contest, with 15.3 percent.

“She believed her total votes plus mine would beat Harry. That assumed Harry held to about 40%.  Further assumes mine fully transferable to her. Not,” Conroy said in his email.

“My stock in trade: I am straightforward, I am honest, I don’t mislead,” Conroy said Thursday. “If they (feel they) are misled, I apologize and try to work it out.”

But obviously the electorate didn’t buy his campaign commentary warning that the state financial troubles would be creating problems for Norwalk, that Republicans would be able to handle it better, or, “I would have done better,” Conroy said. “I did pretty badly.”

34 comments

M. Murray November 27, 2017 at 6:34 am

Yes, if Conroy bowed out and if every one of his voters (15%) went for Brinton, she would have only lost by 20% in what would still be a landslide victory for Rilling. Much ado about nothing.

Stuart Wells November 27, 2017 at 7:00 am

Lisa Brinton (Thomson) won just one precinct – Rowayton. She lost all five of the Council Districts. I’ll post the official totals when I get to the office around 8:30.

Lisa Brinton Thomson November 27, 2017 at 8:27 am

Mr. Conroy’s statements about my campaign are incorrect. The election is over and I’m not going to engage in a ‘he said she said’ argument about our respective campaigns.

However, as I stated on the campaign trail, if I’d thought him a strong candidate against the mayor, I wouldn’t have launched my own independent run. Obviously, I’d have welcomed support from the Republican Party, if they had endorsed my platform, as they have a history of cross endorsing other candidates (if they have no one) and did this election in District B. More notably, they endorsed Mr. Kimmel when he was on the council a few years ago, but we were going to run an independent, non-partisan, issues-based campaign against Mayor Rilling regardless.

The campaign and my continued advocacy remains focused on unaddressed city-wide issues that contribute to Norwalk’s bad reputation and financial underperformance, resulting in the constant need for property tax hikes.

I’ll continue to advocate for 1) a more professional and effective management structure via charter revision 2) planning and zoning reform, as well as improved ordinance enforcement and 3) improved city administration and support for small and mid-size businesses.

As an experienced politician, Mr. Conroy might better serve the city and his party if he remained focused on those issues or the general disengagement of voters in local elections.

As for the incumbent mayor, winning 55% of ~ 30% of voter turnout is nothing to be proud of. Perhaps the number of ‘For Sale’ signs that I saw while campaigning across the city, explains the low turnout, as property owners have already started voting with their feet.

Stuart Wells November 27, 2017 at 9:01 am

Harry Rilling won District E by 1,707 to 1,182 by Lisa Brinton (Thomson). Ms Brinton only won Rowayton (E2) 493 to 381. Mayor Rilling had more votes in each District than the combined votes of Ms Brinton and Mr. Conroy, although District E would have been close. District D, where Republicans usually do well, went heavily for Rilling this time. Rilling got 2,110 votes to 791 for Brinton and 710 for Conroy.
In the District E Council race, DesRochers and Jewett each got over 1,000 votes, but Igneri & Livingston each got over 2,000 votes. The totals were: Livingston 2,168; Igneri 2,126, DesRochers, 1,107 and Jewett 1,062.
These are the official vote totals. Election night totals often do not include Absentee Ballots and Election Day Registration Ballots, and, of course, data entry errors by sleepy officials who are near the end of a 20+ hour workday.

Education101 November 27, 2017 at 9:04 am

Unfortunately, postmortems are of little use here and let’s be clear and give credit where credit is due. Mayor Rilling was by far the best candidate and stood far ahead of the field. From the start, this was one of the easiest mayoral landslides to predict. It was only the bombastic bloggers that superfluously bombarded the commentary section on this site, creating the noise/mirage that the race was closer than appeared.

Piberman November 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

Long past time for the Old Timers in our local GOP to step aside and encourage new blood. Everyone recognizes that in our heavily Democratic City our popular Mayor was heavily favored. What the GOP needs focus is not on its failures but on whether it can field a fully credible candidate next time around. Maybe that could be Ms. Brinton. She has energy and correctly understands we need professionals not amateurs running City Hall. Just like we have professionals running our public school system. Not rocket science to get cost efficient governance in our City and allow our retired to remain here.

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 27, 2017 at 10:14 am

@Education101, while I agree with your point about the usefulness of postmortems, your analysis of the results falls short of the truth. Mayor Rilling’s vote totals were the lowest of his three runs for mayor. Straight line A voting did most of the work. Also it wasn’t a landslide a la Reagan in 1984. Had Conroy dropped out and endorsed Brinton Thomson, it would have been a different race altogether. Nice try at a William Safire-style sound bite above.

Had Rilling been the superlative candidate you suggest he was, he would not have needed 175k to run his campaign. He wouldn’t have needed a professional campaign manager. He wouldn’t have needed thousands upon thousands of dollars in donations from Norwalk developers, many of whom—if not most—live outside Norwalk. Lisa Brinton Thomson came in second with 1/7th the money, a handful of volunteers and not major party endorsement. Give credit where credit is due.

Bryan Meek November 27, 2017 at 11:52 am

Credit to the Mayor for winning, but 8 thousand out of 40 plus thousand potential voters is hardly a mandate. It says more about our city than who is running it. Apathy rules.

Here comes the mall. Here come the apartments 1000 by the 1000s. There goes the treatment plant and any chance of getting through traffic. To make traffic better, here comes a billion dollar bridge that the state can not afford. The new Tappan Zee Bridge cost $4 billion and it’s 3 miles long, not 500 feet long. What is going on here?

If the state does not give us our measly ask of ~$30 million for new schools later this year but can spend an extra $800 million on an over designed bridge, there should be a riot.

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

@Bryan Meek, sounds like there is something else motivating the Walk Bridge project that is not bound to necessity nor to the age of the bridge or the lack of feasibility of the other, cheaper options. This is Sandy money. And people are lining up to get their hands on it. The meerkats will come out of this better than we will.

Rilling won 18% of the electorate. That’s not a mandate. That’s the result of low turnout. Subtract the police, fire, teacher and other union votes, and you get a better picture of the win. Add to that the lack of interest at City Hall in sending out sample ballots and other mailings, and you get a system set up to benefit the incumbent until he tires of the job or the voters tire of him.

Rick November 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

maybe the sewage treatment plant is fine what about the transmission line going thru oyster shell that has burst a couple of times was said to be too small whats the deal on that? The mall is going to be retail right? Its what was sold to the city.

The bridge project what ever happened to the data suggesting the washington st bridge needs replacing?

The power company gets to dig up and and place a new line by vets park dock , a trojan horse maybe?

.

I know the breakdown was given who voted the ones who didn’t? I hear the DMV has new numbers of voters in Norwalk how would they have it and voter reg don’t?

One of the largest building complexes in the city on Day st and no one is guarding it at night? this shows the city creates its own problems yet gives the taxpayers a reason to sit and plot the future of the city while no one has their backs right now is sad.

The election is over , high end deals were probably made before the election time will tell who gets and who don’t.

Anyone can see the bridge that will be built are like the ones along 95 a lot of us count them as we leave the state, clearly looking them up online suggests CT is comfortable building the same ones .

The ones who want a train station on Wall st there is a reason they won’t get one , its sad

Things are planned sometimes for years our statehouse leaders know the deal , Norwalk is usually the last to know thats sad as well.

The here and now will save this city the last election has just done more harm by making the issues go away ,

M. Murray November 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm

If 55% of. 30% turnout is nothing to brag about, what is 22% of the same turnout when you are trying to say there is a movement for change? The fact remains that an apathetic voter is one who is not motivated by any real desire to change and is OK with the way things are. If there was a strong desire for a different path, voter turnout would be high. I

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm

City Hall is not interested in increased voter turnout. And the record breaking pace of apartment development should insure voter apathy for the foreseeable future. Transient residents will vote with their feet when they leave.

Debora Goldstein November 27, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Conroy, and appreciated his leadership on the ZBA during the Firetree appeal hearings. He was most solicitous of the public and permitted plenty of opportunity to participate.

There seems to be no point to relitigating the election, however, this article leaves a couple of, shall we say, rewrites of history, that should not be allowed to stand.

===============================

For starters, Mr. Conroy had repeatedly informed the RTC membership that there was a rule prohibiting them from nominating Lisa Brinton, unless she registered as a Republican. He said so, at least twice on the record, including this quote from NON at https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2017/07/republican-conroy-doubts-thomsons-viability-as-a-norwalk-mayoral-candidate/

“Conroy said he talked to Thomson at the Jan. 27 Norwalk Mayor’s Ball, asking if she’d be the Republican mayoral candidate. He needed an answer quickly, he said, because the RTC bylaws state that a candidate has to have been Republican “for a certain length of time,” to be considered a “legitimate Republican” and Thomson would have to switch her party affiliation to Republican.”

I defy anybody to find that requirement in the RTC rules (or in the state party rules, for that matter):
http://www.norwalkrtc.org/userfiles/file/Norwalk%20RTC%20bylaws%20Adopted%20and%20Approved%20January%203%202013.pdf
==========================================
Andy vs Andy:

July 13, 2017: “I think she could have made a strong (Republican) mayoral candidate,” Conroy said. “Not everybody agrees with me by the way, I am a little bit in the minority of this thinking. She could have pulled in kind of a sweeping group, that thinks along the lines of the unaffiliated group that she is with now, and picked up the Republican core at the same time. I think she would have a shot of winning, actually. She would have put enough groups together that a win was possible.”

Quoted above Nov 27, 2017: “Their estimate was she would do better than I,” Conroy said. “To get it over the top, she needed me to drop out, for a Republican endorsement. I said I didn’t buy it because she is anti-party. ‘The party system broken.’ Now she’ll appear on Republican line – are you kidding me? She would lose as much as she gains.”

==================================================

July 13, 2017: “Running unaffiliated “kind of forecloses getting support from Republicans,” Conroy said.Now, she will get an occasional Republican to support her,” Conroy said. “I am not real sure what I am going to do with those Republicans but they are not going to be part of anything I do. ”

Quoted above Nov 27, 2017: ““Republicans also supported her, that’s obvious,” he said, explaining that he saw ballots during the District D recount and people had voted for Brinton Thomson and then marked the Republican line, straight through.”

======================================
June 30, 2017: ““Lisa was invited and did attend an RTC meeting. Afterward ‘we’ discussed a couple of possibilities. Then, after a week or so she declined the possible opportunities we had proposed.”

Quoted above Nov 27, 2017:
“Nolin knows that Conroy tried to talk Brinton Thomson into running as a Republican, RIGHT UP UNTIL THE CONVENTION, Conroy said. Brinton Thomson “kept leading me on,” promising to support Republican candidates as a quid pro quo, he said.”
========================================
July 11, 2017:
“Asked if he would hire a campaign manager, Conroy, a former Common Council member, said, “I’m not sure that I will because I am pretty experienced. I’m not sure what the value added is.””

Quoted above Nov 27, 2017:
“The approach needed to be much more ’emotional’ and the mechanics of the campaign needed to be stronger and more fluid. I am fairly sure I NOW KNOW HOW to achieve a much better result. I consider that proprietary info.” “I did pretty badly.”
======================================
Three other inaccuracies that should not stand:
1. The poll showing Lisa ahead of Harry, whether real or not, was not a Lisa For Norwalk poll. It first appeared on a website that is largely a venue for opinion pieces by Republicans, and quickly spread from there to social media. At the time Mr. Conroy claimed his campaign had polls showing otherwise, but his SEEC reports show no spending on polls. He should not continue repeating that it was our poll.
2. Mr. McCarthy would not have told anyone a fundraising figure for the Lisa For Norwalk campaign. At the time that conversation took place, we had reported our fundraising totals, and Mr. McCarthy had no visibility to the fundraising other than the public reports. I was the Treasurer and would not have shared that information with him.
3. Mr. Conroy should stop saying things like “her crew was supporting the Democrats”. This is an outright falsehood. The suggestion that the unaffiliated candidate should have boosted the performance of the down-ticket Republican seats when Mr. Conroy himself was the Republican top of the ticket defies reality and borders on malpractice for a former RTC Chairman to suggest. Once the RTC voted to nominate someone other than Lisa, she was legally obligated not to use her candidate committee to support any other candidate. Even so, the suggestion that she was secretly supporting Democrats flies in the face of the public evidence: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2017/10/brinton-thomson-garners-compliments-from-republican-council-candidates/

pnolin November 28, 2017 at 12:18 am

Nancy thanks for the Coverage and the forum for comments. Thanks also for respecting the rules on and off the record comments. Deb I agree good review of the record. Andy your attack on Dave McCarthy is unfair, beneath you, and in poor taste given that Dave treated you with such respect in all his communications to you and to the public on your campaign. I agree with your post election self assessment of your campaign. Wish you had consider it in July.

Lisa thanks for a good run and congratulations to Mayor Rilling who ran a high road campaign.

Given we no longer have a local paper, we all need to support Nancy going forward. Hope you will all join me in that regard. Best for the holidays and on to our State-wide campaign for next year. (I am not looking forward to it, sigh).

Piberman November 28, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Lets not forget there was a new dimension to the recent Mayor election. Namely the suggestion that we have professional leadership at City Hall just like we have for our Public Schools. Best I can judge that idea – adopted by most citeis across the nation – dosn’t have much support in Norwalk.

Second, there’s every reason to expect Mayor Rilling to serve several more terms in office. Which raises the awkward question for the GOP of just what to do while waiting for a less formidable candidate.

Third, we all recognize incumbent Mayors in Norwalk have unique advantages. Unless they overstay their welcome. Mayor Rilling seems best positioned to give a good effort at equallying former Mayor Esposito’s celebrated reign. That’s no small accomplishment. And he might just leave something that no other modern Norwalk has done – leave a positive Legacy of Accomplishment.

So lets look forward. The election is really far behind us and contained few if any surprises save Ms. Brinton’s unusually good showing for s first timer. We should respect that. Especially the GOP.

Victor Cavallo November 28, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Deb: While your work for an unaffiliated petitioning candidate gives you plausible deniability that you, along with Lisa’s other inner circlers, were supporting democratic candidates, the fact is that Lisa’s inner circle was heavily populated by documented democrats. Lisa, herself, registered as a democrat in 2008 and 2016, ostensibly to vote in the democratic presidential primaries (but didn’t register as a republican to vote in any Republican primaries). And indeed, one particularly outspoken supporter who proudly displays a well-themed Facebook picture of a “F… Trump” sign at the post-inaugural “pink hat” demonstrations, had readily admitted in a NoN comment that she is, and always has been, a lifelong democrat. And supporting democrats on the sneak was Lisa’s only realistic political stratagem in that she absolutely needed a sympathetic democrat-majority council to support her “break everything and start over” platform of charter destruction and reconstruction, along with handing over control of Norwalk’s treasury to a six-figure bureaucrat and future NASA union member- this while she virulently opposed awarding lunch-money compensation in the last charter go-round to the people who actually do the government heavy lifting for a pittance over dozens of volunteer hours a month: the common council.

You’re right that there is no rule that requires a nominee for a republican candidacy to be a republican for a certain period of time. That rule applies to candidates for election as an RTC member: 6 months. However, Andy, with years of experience, seems very well versed in the local and state party by-laws. Unless you can tell me that you directly overheard Andy make such a statement to Lisa, or that it’s in writing somewhere, then I am certain that you are mistaken that Andy would quote a non-existent rule. Perhaps the conversation was about rules concerning political party switch-overs, but that wouldn’t disqualify Lisa from running on the Republican line as a cross-endorsee.

I draw your attention to your statement: “The suggestion that the unaffiliated candidate should have boosted the performance of the down-ticket Republican seats when Mr. Conroy himself was the Republican top of the ticket defies reality.” Ouch! With that rhetorical flourish, you just ungratefully poked the eyes out of all of Lisa’s sotto-voce republican supporters, and unwittingly pointed out the fallacy in their expectation that supporting Lisa would translate to Lisa willingly bringing the republican down-ticket a measure success. In other words, they were duped by Lisa. You told a truth which many refused to admit.

Your statement that “…the RTC voted to nominate someone other than Lisa…” betrays a lack of understanding of the process underlying candidate endorsements and ignores actual events. The Town Committee’s function is not to vote to nominate a candidate. Instead its function is to endorse a nomination from an RTC member (and a seconding nomination). Lisa was never “nominated” by any RTC member at the July convention for the full committee, present and voting, to consider endorsing. The distinction is important. And that’s the dirty little secret: NO ONE at the July RTC convention stood up to nominate Lisa; not even her own campaign manager who happens to be an RTC member himself: James Cahn. James instead nominated Republican Ellen Wink but just after Ellen had already accepted her nomination for common council and was endorsed earlier that evening. Ellen politely declined the nomination- which came out of the blue. Andy’s nomination for mayor was the only nomination qualified for endorsement by the full committee present. (The self-nominated Rowayton cowboy didn’t count). With Lisa having failed to get any RTC member to nominate her for cross-endorsement, she and her supporters sealed their fate. From that point on, Lisa could not possibly be cross-endorsed unless Lisa and her supporters could convince Andy to step down and award her the opportunity for a do-over at another mini nominating convention-which no one bothered to organize. And to expect a decades-long leader of the Norwalk Republicans like Andy to hand over the mayoral endorsement to a D in a U’s clothing after she spent weeks trashing Rs and all they stand for, brings hubris to a new level; it’s heavy enough to bring down the Walk bridge.

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Oh Victor! How could we avoid you for so long? After trolling my FB page for ammo, you fixed on a photo of me and my adult daughter at the women’s march, which got you blocked from my FB page. I do not always vote straight line democratic. I did not do so in 2016 though I supported Hillary. I made the mistake of supporting Duff, a decision I came to refret almost immediately. In many ways Norwalk is a decided improvement over Westport. Overall friendlier and more physically beautiful. However, I was lucky in Westport to have been invited to change my registration (so I could float my name as a candidate) by the esteemed Jo Fuchs Luscombe. Jo knew how on approach people “across the aisle” in order to win them over. As RTC, your social media trolling and poison pen tirades have the opposite effect on the Republican party in Norwalk. And I believe your peers know it.

Education101 November 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Most self-proclaimed independents rarely are – they either swing left or right and are opportunists – thinking they can draw from both sides. Most voters can discern from their camouflage.

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 28, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Everyone swings left or right. That’s not limited to independents. And since there are many benefits to party endorsements, as the most recent municipal election proved, it’s hard to pin opportunism on the unaffiliated Candidate. Historically political opportunists have thrived with party backing. In 2016, a lifelong independent ran as a democrat so he could benefit from party funding. That is political opportunism. But sticking it out in the middle with no party endorsement, no party line, and no party money is the opposite of opportunism.

Patrick Cooper November 28, 2017 at 6:10 pm

@Victor Cavello – {…} The sound of one hand clapping. Set the record straight? {…} the only words I want to hear out of your mouth is a humble “I resign”. You and your candidate got your butts kicked by an unaffiliated candidate. Has that sunk in yet? Your disgraceful performance collectively set back the republican party in Norwalk for a decade. YOU are your results. Time for new leadership – one that knows how to both set a LEADING agenda – and pick a winning candidate.
Comment edited to remove personal attacks.

Education101 November 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

While the Republican candidate finished third in the race, his supporters were runner ups in the race for civility. The orchestrated vitriol, scorched earth antics to anyone but their candidate, and in your face aggressiveness displayed by the “independent” candidate supporters (on this site) blatantly worked to her determent – conflating the candidate to her caustic supporter base was easy to do as a reader on this site and in retrospect did not help her cause.

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm

@Education101, it is easy to point fingers from behind a curtain. Come out of the closet so we can have a productive conversation about campign civility, starting with where the mayor’s money came from and where it was spent. While we’re at it, let’s dedicate some quality time to the relative civility of a massive and unprecedented campaign sign sweep (including thefts that were passed off as childish pranks), a track record of misinformation form the mayor’s office and the mayor himself, and a series of well publicized photo ops and missteps on everything from the education building plan to the library to Firetree.

If you really want to take off the gloves, please drop the mask too.

Tony P November 29, 2017 at 12:25 pm

@Patrick – well put. You’re a funny guy. I think that if we ever met in a bar, as long as we didn’t talk about education and unions value, we’d probably get along pretty well!

Patrick Cooper November 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm

@Tony P – when I saw your comment – I was disoriented because simultaneously a flock of purple pigs flew over the 6 orange unicorns in my yard. Stunned – I came to the hazy conclusion that perhaps we should meet over hops or grapes; I can be both funny and serious – depends. And – we should talk education and unions – I bet we both have a take the other side has not considered. We both might learn.

This to me is the civic dividend and contribution that NoN-provides Norwalk. The coverage creates dialogue. Tony P – regardless of my take on your opinions published on this site – the fact that you participate shows character. Didn’t say it couldn’t be shady, just said it was character.

Debora Goldstein December 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Ah Victor, to tango once again (sigh!)

You seem to think you had visibility to all the campaign secrets…you can’t even correctly identify the “insiders”, nor their party affiliation. If believing the myth that Lisa is a Democrat makes you feel better, then go right on believing it…but you have no evidence that it is true other than the dogmatic belief that anybody who ever registered as a Democrat can’t work with the Republicans (but you still can endorse Democrats and caucus with them, and elect them as Republicans if they switch parties.)

You again suggest that Lisa single-handedly defeated charter revision. I’ve debunked it in comments on other articles and will skip doing so again. However, I will point out that charter revision is not a “break everything” process, and it does not require the support of the council, democrat or otherwise. It requires the consent of the people of Norwalk, and would follow their lead. The suggestion that a City Manager would be unaccountable or a union member has been similarly debunked. They would report to the Council. We favored raises for council members…we did not favor taking the authority for future raises and putting it in the hands of the council by linking it to the Mayor’s pay. The vast majority of Norwalkers agreed.
I never said Andy told Lisa that (the news quote above that you choose to ignore did). I said he told the RTC. I did observe Andy say it, in Council Chambers, in front of a reporter. We discussed it, but it apparently wasn’t all that newsworthy that a party chair, who intended to be nominated for the Mayoral slot did not, in fact, know the rules. If you want to insist that he didn’t mean what he said, that’s different from insisting he didn’t say it.
I draw your attention to your statement: “The suggestion that the unaffiliated candidate should have boosted the performance of the down-ticket Republican seats when Mr. Conroy himself was the Republican top of the ticket defies reality.” Ouch! With that rhetorical flourish, you just ungratefully poked the eyes out of all of Lisa’s sotto-voce republican supporters, and unwittingly pointed out the fallacy in their expectation that supporting Lisa would translate to Lisa willingly bringing the republican down-ticket a measure success. In other words, they were duped by Lisa. You told a truth which many refused to admit.
You insist on blaming Lisa for the down-ticket losses. But it was the top of the Republican ticket that is expected to have coat-tails for the party. Lisa pulled 22% and Andy 15% yet the Republican down-ticket offices seem to have pulled no lower than 30%. From where I am sitting it looks like she actually did help down ticket Republicans. Was she supposed to have delivered the Democratic votes she didn’t receive to your candidates as well? Even the Republican Town Clerk pulled more Democratic votes on his cross-endorsed line than he did on the Republican line.
Ah yes, Victor…you caught the one misspoken word to pretend I don’t know what I am talking about and deflect from my point. Allow me to correct it. “…the RTC voted to ENDORSE someone other than Lisa…” My main point is the same. Once the RTC endorsed Andy…Lisa could not legally use her campaign’s resources to support any other candidate.
I know what happened at the RTC convention. I was there, as you well know. I saw party members endorse two registered democrats for in-district council…no six month waiting period. No hand-wringing about secret plots to support Democrats. Double-standard, no?
Just because leadership put down an insurrection in the ranks doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Just sayin’.

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

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Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.