Updated, 7:11 a.m.: Copy edits, information added
NORWALK, Conn. — Lisa Brinton’s widely-rumored 2019 mayoral run is now official.
Brinton, who is unaffiliated, filed an SEEC Registration Form to run for Mayor at the Norwalk Town Clerk’s office Monday.
“People have been speculating. Now they can stop,” Brinton said.
In a Monday e-mail to NancyOnNorwalk, she explained further:
“The disconnect between what we are paying in residential property taxes and what we are receiving continues to widen. After five years in office, the results of the current administration are clear:
“– POKO remains an undeveloped eyesore
“– Lawsuits over land use decisions continue to multiply
“– The recent disclosure of the fraudulent payment scam has raised concerns over city practices
“–Angry homeowners are revolting over the latest revaluation
“– We continue to struggle to fund our board of education
“Rubbing salt in the wound is a proposal for $15M in property tax credits for an ‘Innovation District.’
“We have failed to protect the most vulnerable, as the Washington Village project progresses.
“Businesses stand to be crushed by the Walk Bridge project.”
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, a Democrat, has not announced whether he will run for re-election. He declined to reveal his plans to NancyOnNorwalk Monday, but Brinton’s announcement will have “no impact whatsoever” on his decision, he wrote.
“Since she received 22% of the vote last year, 2019 should be interesting,” Rilling commented.
Brinton ran against Rilling as an unaffiliated candidate in 2017 and won 22.4 percent of the vote in a four-way race. Rilling won 56 percent, Republican Andy Conroy won 15.2 percent and petitioning Democratic candidate Bruce Morris won 6.3 percent.
Brinton’s campaign “should be no surprise to anyone,” Rilling said Monday. “She’s been campaigning for the past three years.”
Brinton’s criticisms of Rilling’s administration continued after the 2017 campaign ended, in comments and op-eds in NancyOnNorwalk and elsewhere. Two days after the election, she laid out five things that she said Rilling needed to address and said, “If calling out the issues that 45% of the city wants dealt with is being negative – then so be it!”
Norwalk Republicans considered endorsing Brinton in 2017, and ultimately did not; critics said that she was not a true Republican, while her Republican supporters believed she held many Republican positions and offered the best opportunity to defeat Rilling. She has described herself as a fiscal conservative and social liberal.
During the 2018 campaign Brinton supported Republican State Senate candidate Marc D’Amelio and changed her registration from unaffiliated to Republican. She said the switch was so that she could vote in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary. She has since changed her affiliation back to unaffiliated.
Winning the Republican endorsement in 2019 would obtain Brinton a more desirable position near the top of the ballot. “It’s too early to speculate on endorsements,” Brinton wrote Monday. She added that she will stay in the race regardless of whether she wins the Republican endorsement.
Mayoral candidates have typically announced their intentions in January or February. In 2017, Brinton’s intentions first became public knowledge in June and she announced in July. Brinton attributed her earlier start to lessons learned in the 2017 race.
Norwalk voters in 2017 and 2018 overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates; some have attributed the results of those elections to national politics.
“I understand why voters have been angry with Washington, but they need to hold the state and our own City Hall accountable too,” Brinton wrote Monday. “There are three levels of government and the need for checks and balances doesn’t stop in DC, we need it in Norwalk. Single party rule, no matter which party is dangerous for citizens. I am uncomfortable with the number of executive sessions, and ‘declined comments’ from this administration. Finally, as I have always said, there is no R or D way to plan a city, pave or plow a road or fund a school.”
Nancy Chapman contributed reporting to this story.