Brinton files papers for 2019 mayoral run

Lisa Brinton revealed Monday that she is running for Norwalk Mayor in 2019 as an unaffiliated candidate.

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.


Dave McCarthy December 4, 2018 at 6:45 am

Sad to see Mayor Rilling take the misogynistic path and “poo-poo” a successful woman’s challenge to his lack of leadership. Rather than making a plan or responding with leadership, he criticizes Ms. Brinton for daring to challenge him. Sad, but {…} not unsurprising.

Edited to remove character assassination by innuendo. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

Norwalk Lost December 4, 2018 at 8:45 am

The recent reval which has angered many homeowners and artificially inflated home prices by an average of 5 – 10% is likely the latest pending election year ruse the current administration will utilize to squeeze more revenue out of already struggling homeowners. This latest stunt is symbolic of potential malfeasance at city hall and a reluctance to make wholesale changes to the perennial bloated budgets that tax payers can not afford. I wish Lisa success in her campaign.

EnoPride December 4, 2018 at 9:13 am

Great news… Go Lisa! You have my family’s votes! Time for a more thoughtful, accountable, Norwalk resident inclusive, business savvy style of leadership to bring Norwalk in the right direction! Good for you and good for us!

Piberman December 4, 2018 at 10:14 am

Norwalk Mayors come and go. But none ever achieve reduction in our punitive property taxes. That’s the City’s crucial over riding issue. And none have ever used Prof. Search to secure Top Talent to our City. Norwalk’s many challenges (as with other CT cities) require decades to resolve. Given our local political structure major change in Norwalk’s future likely requires adoption of a Prof. Mgr. as does Greenwich. Changing Mayors may or may not change at the margins. But the City’s issues like CT’s are long standing and not amenable to quick or “pop” solutions. Or mere promises.

We’d be better off with 4 year terms for our Mayors with some term limits and save considerable local expense and energies. After all not much changes in City Hall from one Mayor to the next given our local political arrangements. Our senior Administrators seem to have life tenure. And most City employees continue to live outside Norwalk. It’s mostly taxpayers who “come and go” in our transient City.

While Mayor Rilling will be subject to some criticism – comes with the office – he has been both courteous and tolerant with those who disagree with him. That’s been fairly unique in Norwalk’s history of fractious politics. Lets hope the current campaign will be conducted with courtesy and respect. And attention will be paid to the credentials of Common Council members. Once upon a time our Council members were well credentialed and devoted true public servants. And actually governed our City rather than remain onthe side lines. Our City requires a vigorous Council, not a Rubber Stamp.

Bob Partisan December 4, 2018 at 10:46 am

Great news! I hope she truly stays unaffiliated and doesn’t align with Republican party.
A third party, unaffiliated candidate is what Norwalk really needs.
Hopefully some others start to get involved to do the same for Council and BOE seats.
I don’t care what party you represent, when there is one party rule its good for no one.

Why wouldn’t Harry run again? He has the easiest job on the planet. Take home a salary for shaking hands and smiling for pics while Laoise King does all the bidding and dirty work. He’ll ride this gravy train as long as he can.

Patrick Cooper December 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Excellent decision for Norwalk.

Anyone who has met Lisa Brinton knows important facts about this mayoral candidate. I have, and this is what I see: Lisa exudes a real presence – genuine character. Combine that with positive energy, intelligence, and class. Her strengths: Fortune 500 professional experience and demonstrably excellent communication skills. I believe this is what Norwalk needs to lead a transformation of our townie city hall.

Compare Lisa to the current head of the administration – Mr. “executive session” lurching from one mess, scandal, or crime – each week. That he requires a grossly over-compensated chief of staff to do the heavy lifting, and just greased a million-dollar reorganization to reduce his “span-of-control” – says even more. Harry, so glad we could re-shape the job – bring it down to a manageable level.

Lisa alone is a start. We also need – party agnostic – good, smart, effective leadership on the common council that places the city first. The current 14-1 council is a disaster for this city. Look at every major issue: involuntarily comes to light, public hearings organized to suppress participation, and the masochistic hearings with the generous 3-minute comments held before a council that has already decided the issue behind closed doors. There is total acquiescence – not a single nay. The protest vote is absenteeism.

Lisa should give you hope – hope that the city can get informed (facts over the current propaganda) – and get engaged. There must come a time when we – the voting taxpayers of Norwalk – get tired of sideways and down, and look to support forward and up.

Go Lisa.

carol December 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm

would like to see the Republicans and working party endorse her so we have two candidates running and are not splitting votes three or 4 ways.

Sue Haynie December 4, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Agreed @carol. I would like to see the Republican and Independent Parties endorse Lisa. They need her energy!

Steve December 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Dave McCarthy what’s misogynistic? Lisa Brinton sounds like a well-intentioned strong candidate but what party will she run on? The party previously known as the Republican Party which is now the Trump party or once again a 3rd party. Until the Republicans jettison Trump and his antics, they will continue to move towards obscurity in Ct. much like they have in California. Bring back a 1960s Republican like Prescott Bush or a 1980s one like Lowell Weicker and we will have a two party system again but so long as the birthers and Pizzagate pedophilia QANON conspiracy theorists have a set at the dais— fugget about it….We need a viable 2nd Party but so long as the existing 2nd party doesn’t follow the Larry Cafero post election message, the Trump Party will continue to send their candidates into the dustbin of history

Pros & Cons December 5, 2018 at 8:22 am

Lisa is a viable, quality candidate but no fan of a few less than civil people she’s tapped to help with her campaign.

Scarlet ohara December 5, 2018 at 10:40 am

@pros & cons, who are these “less than civilized people” that “she’s tapped to help with her campaign”?

Bob Partisan December 5, 2018 at 11:40 am

In my opinion, a Republican Party endorsement could be a very polarizing thing to unaffiliated voters.

Most unaffiliated voters tend to vote Democrat, by aligning with a Republican endorsement you can forget a large number of their votes. I understand the implications on the ballot by having Lisa listed numerous times but I think people want to vote for someone that is truly not on either side except for the citizens of Norwalk.

Voters are getting tired of the major party rule so a candidate that runs unaffiliated and then received the endorsement from a party lose credibility to me.

I’d love to see a “new” party created where a 3rd Party candidate actually would have a shot instead of the same old party insiders.

Andrew December 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Lisa will have the scarlet letter T hung around her neck and the natrative will be she is a secret Trump supporter because of her affiliation with the Repiblicannparty in the last election. Nothing like really sticking it to Trump as voting for the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Norwalk.
That’ll really show him

Steve December 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Andrew you have it wrong—-it’s not showing him, it’s rejecting a party that supports a tasteless, narcissistic racist. Those who choose to stay Republicans and say nothing are complicit. When’s the last time your boss said you said something stupid or one of your fellow employees was a horseface or reqularly and consistently lied about everything under the sun or hid $ or tried to have other people hide $. He’s the leader of the party that others choose to stay in or join. I pray that some Republicans develop some gonads or the female equivalent thereof and end the Qanon, Birther, Pizzagate, White Power, Deep State, Trumpists who’ve taken over the party—-with their own complicity. Wearing a Republican label ties you as much to Trump as carrying a confederate flag ties you to the racist, Jim Crow south, or putting a KKK label ties you to lynchings. Nobody’s forcing Lisa or anyone else to wear a Scarlett letter, it’s her choice to wear it and carry the baggage that comes with it.

Pros & Cons December 5, 2018 at 5:51 pm

@ Scarlet ohara
One need only read comments in NoN and other media to figure out the answer to your question….

Victor Cavallo December 5, 2018 at 9:31 pm

@ Steve: Those who remain Democrat are complicit in Obama’s unrebutted endorsement of BLM’s campaign to kill cops, Hillary Clinton’s repugnant criminal defense of a child rapist, the personal destruction of her Husband’s rape accusers whom she didn’t believe, and Bill Clinton setting the standard for Harvey Weinstein-type sexual violence toward women in the workplace.

How do registered democrats sleep at night?

steve December 6, 2018 at 6:32 am

Victor, stop reading infowar and RT- guess you also believe that Aids was created by the CIA, In the words of DP Moynihan, you have a right to your own opinion but not your own facts–doubt that will stop you.

Scarlet ohara December 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm

At pros & cons, you put it out there speculating or outing other commentators. Serious outing and character assassinations.

Both are against the commentary rules but like all liberals they can get insulted and hurt about what is said against them but have no problem didhing it out.

DrewT January 5, 2019 at 9:15 pm

I am so looking forward to helping get the new leadership Norwalk needs! The energy she will bring and the passion will rub off on the residents!! I am hopeful that the Republicans endorse as well!!!

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