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Crosland ‘suspends’ Norwalk Mayoral campaign

Former Norwalk Branch NAACP President Darnell Crosland speaks Thursday in Washington Prime, a SoNo restaurant. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — Darnell Crosland said Thursday that he is taking his “Let’s Fix It” slogan and applying it to a run for Norwalk Common Council.

Crosland said he’s “suspending” his campaign for Mayor: he is no longer seeking to force a Republican primary and take the Republican endorsement away from unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton. Instead, he will replace Enrique Santiago on the Republican slate of at large Council candidates.

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story

Brinton appears free to take on Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling without spending money on a primary.

This news comes two days after NancyOnNorwalk published a story quoting Crosland, a former Democrat, of accusing Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons of “sorority racism.” Crosland said he was joking around but stands by the sentiment behind the comment.

The story also quoted Crosland as saying he was going ahead with his challenge to Brinton.

Crosland needed 488 verified signatures by 4 p.m. Aug. 7 to qualify for a primary, but was starting later than most candidates do after a nominating convention because his Republican bona fides only became official at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

He said Thursday that an “aggressive” phone bank campaign had lined up 600 promises from Republicans to sign his petition.

“After talking to hundreds of voters, from party leaders down to everyday Republicans, it’s clear that I have joined a party divided and that is unfortunate because the Bible says a house divided cannot stand,” Crosland said at a press conference held at Washington Prime, a SoNo restaurant.

The Republican Party mission is bigger than making him Mayor in 2019, he said.

“I understand that, this is about helping to bring leadership to the party. I didn’t join the Republican Party to split it and I am not running for Mayor because I am mad at Harry and the Democrats,” Crosland said. “I am here to reach across the aisle and to build bridges where there have been deep divides for decades. I am here to let us reimagine what our leadership to look like for the next decade and I am in this for the long haul.”

Crosland, a criminal defense attorney, switched his party affiliation on April 30. He sought the Democratic endorsement in the probate judge race last year, but lost it to Attorney Douglas Stern, who won the election.

“I have decided today… to suspend my campaign for Mayor,” Crosland said Thursday. “… Even though I know I would have won the primary and the general election, it’s the best thing for Norwalk, it’s the best thing for the party, and we don’t have to worry about spending money as Norwalkers on a primary.”

Republicans will take over the City Council, which is now dominated by Democrats on a 14 to one ratio, according to Crosland.

Brinton did not reply to a late evening email asking for comment.

Rilling said he’s not surprised, that he had heard this was up.

“I’m still optimistic we will be engaged in a civil, robust campaign focused on issues important to our great city,” Rilling wrote. “My team and I will campaign on our record of which we are very proud. We have accomplished a lot and have so much more planned for the future.”

 

 

‘A misunderstanding’

Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Suda said Thursday that to his knowledge Crosland never called Doyle Lyons a racist.

A Tuesday text message conversation with Darnell Crosland. The question posed in blue contains an error: Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons did not say no one from the Crosland campaign came into the office, just that Crosland did not. That error was not in the resultant news story.

“I think it’s a misunderstanding,” Suda said. He blamed NancyOnNorwalk, saying, “Nancy (Chapman) ‘soups’ up her stories for a better press. That’s why I don’t talk to her and will never talk to her.”

The conversation was done entirely by text. It is shown at right.

Crosland’s comments to those gathered for the press conference included a reference to “sorority” and “feeling unwanted.”

“You shouldn’t have to guess why you feel unwanted,” Crosland said. “… That’s what this Republican Party is about. We are not going to have anybody walk in our rooms and think that there is racism here.”

Asked specifically about Lyons, he said that ever since he walked into City Hall he’s felt that Doyle Lyons was rude to him.

“I start speaking to other people about it and no one wants to touch the issue,” he said.

Doyle Lyons in a late evening NancyOnNorwalk comment said the first time she’s had direct contact with Crosland was on Tuesday, when he came in seeking petitions.

“Mr. Crosland has made many statements that are very untrue as he does {not} know me and has only had a opportunity to speak with me once directly,” she wrote.

Crosland’s “sorority racism” phrase came from Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the 2016 Oscar award ceremony.

“Karen Lyons gave me the feeling that I wasn’t welcome to the club,” Crosland said Thursday. “Chris Rock called that ‘sorority racism,’ where you’re not lynching and hanging anybody, but you’re just not welcome. But I didn’t feel welcome and that’s what we stand by.”

Doyle Lyons in a Thursday evening email wrote:

“LOL

“He has no idea who I am, my background, family or friends.

“Truth beware and have him do his research.

A Wednesday text message from Darnell Crosland.

“His answer to everything is be ‘Racist’ LOL. He even told you to watch Chris Rock. What does that mean?

“Even on your site he wants to have it both ways. LOL

“He is a lawyer and he has to follow election laws like all candidates. PERIOD….”

 

Crosland dealt with Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells when he ran for probate judge, she said.

 

 

Archie Bunker

Crosland in his speech likened Republican District D Chairman John Romano to the 1970’s television character Archie Bunker. But they laugh and tell jokes, including his suggestion the other day that if he jumped in Romano’s pool, Romano would have to drain it, he said.

“I love John,” he said.

“Do some people have old antiquated thoughts? Yes they do,” Crosland said. “Do I feel uncomfortable sometimes? Yes I do. But when all of the us in here say ‘no’ to those people, we’re going to have a great Republican Party.”

 

Chris Rock’s “sorority racist”comment comes at 6:45 in this video:

12 comments

Tysen Canevari August 2, 2019 at 6:51 am

Jerry Springer material at its best. The republican party in Norwalk needs to clean house and get some professional leadership. Bryan Meek should take the reins. Educated and professional.

David McCarthy August 2, 2019 at 7:06 am

If Darnell was treated poorly by KDL, he is in a club that includes virtually every person who has ever spoken to her in her role as registrar. She does try to stick to the rules as she sees them.

Thanks for the laugh August 2, 2019 at 9:05 am

“I have decided today… to suspend my campaign for Mayor,” Crosland said Thursday. “… Even though I know I would have won the primary and the general election, it’s the best thing for Norwalk”.

You can’t make this stuff up. Has a sitcom for the Norwalk Republicans been considered?

Rambo August 2, 2019 at 9:48 am

Crosland must have been sent to the RTC by the DTC to put an end to the RTC in Norwalk. He is already doing a tremendous job of making top RTC members look like incompetent imbeciles.

Steve Mann August 2, 2019 at 11:31 am

I doesn’t appear to me that Mr. Crosland was misquoted at all. He even used all CAPS to express his feeling. Good work Nancy.

Soon to be Hollywood Star August 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm

Great idea about the sitcom. It should be called All in the Party. Apparently, some of the cast members have already been selected by our new casting director, Mr. Crosland!

Mitch Adis August 3, 2019 at 7:11 am

Bahhh hahahahaha! Is Crosland a stand up comedian? So many funny quotes from him, but he’s no Chris Rock. Seriously, it sounds like the person with antiquated thoughts was running for Mayor. You’re a smart man Darrell stop using silly excuses.

Curious Voter August 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Making sure I didn’t misunderstand? Did Mr. Crosland say in the article that Mr. Romano said to him that “if Crosland jumped into his pool he would have to have it drained.” I read it a few times but that’s what it sounded like.

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