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Norwalk election notes: Is there a rabbit for the Republican Party?

From left, Democratic incumbent Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton and Republican Mayoral hopeful Darnell Crosland.

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Silly season has come early, according to Republican electoral contest veteran (and Town Clerk) Rick McQuaid.

Thoughts from McQuaid, who served on the Common Council for 16 years and began his political career when he was a teenager, contribute to a NancyOnNorwalk election notes column:

  • ‘Usually there are more (Republican) candidates’
  • Wishing the opponent well
  • ‘No. No. No. :-)’

 

Uncertainty trickles down

“Usually by now there are more candidates registered to run for offices. Usually, there are front runners, other than the incumbent Mayor,” McQuaid said Wednesday.

Both Norwalk political parties are meeting Monday to endorse candidates. At the top of the ticket, Democrats appear to be solidly behind Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling, while Republicans are being courted by unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton and newly minted Republican Darnell Crosland, a life-long Democrat and NAACP leader who has turned on the party after being spurned in his quest to become Judge of Probate.

“Right now, you have Lisa, who is working hard and is looking to run for Mayor. You have Darnell, who says he has declared he is running for Mayor but there is no signs of him running for Mayor,” McQuaid said.

McQuaid said he has “no clue” who Republicans will choose, because there’s no organized effort to select a candidate.

“Maybe they’ll come out of the convention with a candidate. Maybe they won’t,” he said.

The only certainty is that Rilling and Brinton will be on the ballot this fall, because they’ve both qualified, he said, explaining that the uncertainty is holding back potential Republican candidates for Common Council.

“People have said they are running but, a lot of people are going to wait until the convention to see where their candidates are going to be,” McQuaid said. “For the most part, the Democrats have filled in most of their blanks. Probably all of their blanks. I can’t think of any I haven’t heard something about. Republican-wise, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody for A. or B. I’ve seen C, I’ve seen D, I’ve just heard about candidates in E.”

“A lot of people are waiting to see who the candidate for Mayor is. Some like one, some like the other. Some may want to run with one and not the other. I mean, it’s a crazy – it’s the silly season,” McQuaid said. “Usually silly season starts after the convention. It looks like it’s out there live right now. I mean, it’s really, who knows? Maybe the Republicans will pull a rabbit out of the hat …. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t know. Anybody that I know that I would think would run for Mayor has definitely said they’re not running for Mayor. They are not there. I know who they say could be candidates, they aren’t there.”

 

 

Welcoming Crosland

Over the weekend Crosland announced that he’s holding a campaign kickoff Friday.

Brinton’s response?

“I wish Mr. Crossland well.

“As far as the Republican Party endorsement, I’ve reached out to many of their members, who share my vision for more accountability at city hall that is focused on residents and not special interests.

“Many are also concerned that the current administration has and will continue to make decisions that adversely impact our quality of life and hurt taxpayers for years to come.

“Finally, I believe many RTC members share my belief that only an alliance of Unaffiliated, Republicans, Independents and disaffected Democrats can break the Rilling stronghold of single-party rule, which has resulted in a disservice to ordinary Norwalk residents.”

 

 

‘No. No. No. :-)’

NancyOnNorwalk emailed Brinton on Monday and asked:

  • “You’ve criticized the Chief of Staff position. Would you continue it?  Do you have someone in mind of the position?
  • “Would Donna Smirniotopoulos have a role in your administration?
  • “Do you plan to present a slate of candidates?”

 

The answer? “No. No. No.  :-)”

Laoise King currently serves as Rilling’s Chief of Staff.  Brinton wrote back to say that her understanding was that King “has an City of Norwalk employee contract that extends beyond the 2019 election. The position is currently filled.”

King does not have a contract, according to Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Ray Burney, who wrote, “Norwalk City Ordinance Chapter 30B-2 provides that the Chief of Staff serves at the pleasure of the Mayor.  Ms. King does not have a contract of employment, nor a set term.”

King was hired in November 2016 to be assistant to the mayor, a position that hadn’t been filled in years. The position was upgraded last year to Chief of Staff as part of the reorganization of top City administrative positions.

Brinton added, “No promises or offers have been made to anyone for any position in a Brinton administration.”

18 comments

Sue Haynie July 16, 2019 at 6:35 am

Great answers from Lisa.

Unlike Rilling, Lisa as Mayor won’t need a cadre of highly paid support staff just to her job! Lisa has the Energy, passion and commitment that Rilling simply can no longer muster on his own.

Norwalk never had a full-time, paid-as-much-as-the-Mayor Chief of Staff until Rilling. Rilling can’t do the job by himself.

Lisa would communicate with Norwalk citizens. Lisa’s not afraid to answer questions, speak for herself, say what she means. Rilling, on the other hand, needs a full time, taxpayer funded Communication Director because Rilling won’t/can’t/doesn’t want to speak for himself.

VOTE FOR LISA FOR MAYOR. Norwalk needs a Mayor with energy, passion and commitment. Norwalk deserves a Mayor who can do the job.

Alice Allen July 16, 2019 at 10:12 am

Cheering loudly for Lisa For Msyor. Time for major change and that doesn’t include someone changing their spots from Democrat to Republucan.

James Cahn July 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm

This is all just a distraction. The real question about the RTC convention is if or not Scott Merrill is going to show up again and nominate and second himself!

Itsjustme July 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I’ll gladly vote for Lisa for her energy alone. Seems to me there’s lot of government bloating. Who needs a Chief if Staff to run Norwalk? Laughable.

Then again, as speaker Pelosi suggests, a glass off water with a D affiliation can be voted into office.

Ron Morris July 16, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Sounds to me that Lisa will be keeping the chief of staff position.
Lisa lets make this simple
Will you keep the chief of staff position. Yes or NO
Bets that she will not answer.

Gypsy July 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Ron Morris – Lisa’s answer is right there in the article that you didn’t bother to read.

‘No. No. No. :-)’

NancyOnNorwalk emailed Brinton on Monday and asked:

“You’ve criticized the Chief of Staff position. Would you continue it? Do you have someone in mind of the position?
“Would Donna Smirniotopoulos have a role in your administration?
“Do you plan to present a slate of candidates?”

The answer? “No. No. No. :-)”

Ron Morris July 16, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Gypsy
You seem to be confused or maybe you only read the part that you wanted. Here is what Lisa said
Brinton wrote back to say that her understanding was that King “has an City of Norwalk employee contract that extends beyond the 2019 election. The position is currently filled.”

With that said my question once again to Lisa and not you Gypsy is.

Lisa lets make this simple
Will you keep the chief of staff position. Yes or NO
Bets that she will not answer.

CAROL July 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm

the republicians are playing games with the party people,if they are not smart enough to support lisa,they will have one less member as I will leave the party and become an unaffiliated, either way I will vote and support Lisa for mayor.

Red headed movie star July 17, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Carol, I agree with you. Lisa has my vote and the Republicans should endorse and support her….

DrewT July 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm

The Republicans FULLY SUPPORT Lisa for Mayor. And that will be confirmed when she receives our endorsement Monday Night. AS I have stated over and over again. We welcome Darnell with open arms and hope that he will stay and become an active member of the RTC. We need his drive and passion!

EnoPride July 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Agree, @Itsjustme. Let’s buck the status quo and shatter that glass of water with a D this November! If any city can do it, it’s Norwalk. We have residents of diverse cultures, opinions and political views who have been silenced for too long and need to be heard. As diversity is one of our greatest strengths, let’s showcase and put a voice to our diversity in how we choose our next elected officials.

Our local government should be reflective of all, not some, of us. Our Common Council should be representative of all affiliations and points of view, not one affiliation and an executive session, unanimous voting herd mentality. Single party rule and the pervasive cronyism culture that has come with it under this Rilling Administration is divisive, damaging (POKO/Wall Street Place debacle going on right now is a great example of just how damaging!) and is disenfranchising many in our city.

Lisa’s nonpartisan approach to politics is refreshing and would be well suited to unifying all affiliations of Norwalk, while reenergizing and restoring those constituents who feel disenfranchised. I hope voters will give Lisa a good look and give her the opportunity to lead and to show us that we can all work TOGETHER and strive for a better Norwalk, no matter what our affiliation. Policy over party. Lisa is for everyone!

Debora Goldstein July 17, 2019 at 6:10 pm

@Al Bore,

No, he was a City employee as police chief. According to a report from 2012, before he was a D, he was a U.

https://www.thehour.com/norwalk/article/Former-police-chief-may-challenge-Garfunkel-for-8203490.php

He did recently change his voter affiliation from unaffiliated to Democrat…

Rilling said he changed his voter affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated upon being “promoted to a position in the Police Department, where I felt that I should not have any affiliation with any political party” and now has changed his registration back to the Democratic Party.

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