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