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Final results of Norwalk election show Rilling won with 55.5% of the vote

From left, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) study vote tallies, Election Night in the Hilton Garden Inn. Republicans relied on News12 for results and hours later were clinging to hopes that the election was closer than what the Dems had reported.

The election is over.

NORWALK, Conn. – Predictions of a close Mayoral election have fallen short: Mayor Harry Rilling won victory with 55.48 percent of the vote.

The final results are 8,782 votes for Rilling and 7,047 votes for Republican-endorsed-but-unaffiliated challenger Lisa Brinton, Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said Tuesday.

Brinton and Republican supporter Isabelle Hargrove paint this as worth the struggle; Rilling and Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho stress their continued success.

 

‘I united Norwalk’s NURDs’

Rilling won reelection in 2017 with 55.42% percent of the vote, so his percentage was actually higher this year in spite of Brinton’s three years of non-stop campaigning.

She ran as a petitioning candidate in 2017, as part of a four-way Mayoral contest and scored 22.8 percent of the vote, more than Republican candidate Andy Conroy, who got 15.3 percent. Democratic candidate Bruce Morris won 6.3 percent of the vote.

NancyOnNorwalk asked Brinton if it was worth it, given that that Rilling won with basically the same percentage as he did in 2017. Her own numbers had gone up from 22.8 to 44.5, she said.

“I united Norwalk’s NURDs,” she wrote. “… Until I see a breakdown of Norwalk’s Unaffiliated, Republican and Democrat voters, it’s hard to say more.”

She wrote:

“Voter turnout in local elections reflects long time residents and homeowners who pay property taxes.  Other folks are more bedroom community oriented, transient, not engaged in the schools or on a local level and hence don’t pay as much attention to local issues.

“The last known data I have indicated 47.8% of housing stock was single family homeowners out of a total of 35,168 units. This is from CERC Connecticut Economic Resource Center (2012-16.)  I have it posted on my campaign website under related material.

“That housing number has likely gone down given the thousands of new apartments. Younger people tend not to vote in local elections.  Someone had a median age voter for Norwalk and it was up there.   I know I never voted locally until I moved to Norwalk – when I had a vested interest in my family home, the schools and local government.

“Was it worth it.  Absolutely.  And, I’m not going away.   As it stand, the only vocal check and balance on this single party rule government is myself and now Tom Keegan. He’ll need help.”

Keegan is the sole Republican to win election to the Common Council. No Republican Board of Education candidates won.

Republicans had hoped that Brinton’s energy and passion would bring more people to the polls and get them more Council seats.

There were 15,829 votes cast in the Mayoral contest, compared to 14,314 two years ago.

 

 

‘Pretty awesome work’

“The numbers budged significantly,” Hargrove wrote. “Two years ago, Lisa garnered 22.80% of the votes, this year she close to doubled that percentage with 44.52% of votes and she more than doubled her number of voters.”

She continued:

“Rilling and Morris 2 years ago, garnered 61.82%. This year Rilling, on his own, lost 10% of these votes. On the other hand, 2 years ago Conroy and Brinton only got 38.18%. Brinton this year alone, increased their combined % by 17% to get to 44.52%.

“Two years ago, our Republican candidate on Row B, got 15.38% of the votes. This year Brinton on the same line got a 200% increase and over 3 times the numbers of voters.

“What story do these numbers tell? The dems are weakening under Rilling’s leadership where Brinton is building a growing and stronger coalition that more voters are joining despite the local backlash against Republicans.  Hard work and a solid platform do make a difference. She only needed to persuade less than 900 people or 5% of the voters to clinch a win. Looking at this from where we were 2 years ago, that’s pretty awesome work.

“My hats off to her.”

 

 

‘A very good showing’

“Ms. Hargrove leaves out the most telling statistic. Rilling has won by approximately 10 percentage points in virtually every election. Lisa’s change campaign did not change that,” Camacho replied.

“The elections over,” Rilling wrote. “We had a very good showing and it’s very clear to me that the public has spoken. They believe that the city is not on a downward spiral, that the city is a progressive city with leadership and vision, and they want us to continue moving in the direction that we are moving.”

15 comments

Jason Milligan November 13, 2019 at 1:11 pm

How is Mike’s comment allowed?

There are numerous false statements.

He repeatedly ascribes motives.

It would be fine if his adversarys were allowed similar latitude.

pleasestop November 13, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Isabelle why are you touting a candidate that at every turn distanced herself from the Republican party? Oh yeah, this is the same RTC that endorsed Crosland for Mayor.

Adolph Neaderland November 13, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Hmm, Mike, continued groveling diatribe – I suspect you didn’t read Lisa’s “Post Campaign Thoughts” opinion in the HOUR.
My take, if she had said in the debate what she wrote , she would be mayor.

Taking your points one by one:
1: Renters do not pay property taxes to the city, the building owner pays the property taxes, assuming there were no tax abatement’s and the owners operating cost.
2: I also suspect you are incorrect relating to impact. Non reimbursable infrastructure improvement by the city is a cost to the residential taxpayers. Can you document that developers have fully reimbursed the city?
3: For all the recent rental development, over the past 6/7 years the Grand List has moved an insignificant 3%, causing a budget deficit offset (in an election year) by raiding the “rainy day” fund.
4: The mall – can you document that the thousands of construction jobs the mall created were Norwalk jobs? Seems to me that quite a few (I did not do a head count) NY license plates were parked adjacent to the jobsite.
Developers paying taxes on undeveloped land isn’t a great talking point, Norwalk would have received those taxes without the Mall.
Your reference to the tax incentives being “temporary” is minimizing a ten year period. Consider that the Mall has already been sold twice for millions in profit without any benefit to Norwalk. (Hardly demonstrates this administrations negotiating skills).
5. POKO, POKO, POKO – what a mess – conveniently omitted in your message – laid directly at the administrations feet!.
6. If we go back a couple of Rilling years we come up with the Mosque, the Library parking lot fiasco, the variance provided for the big box store on Main Ave and the loss of industrial space to residential zoning on Glover Ave.
All on the administration’s watch. NO CITY PLAN!
More but I ran out of time.

Mike Mushak November 13, 2019 at 5:50 pm

It is now officially a landslide defeat for Lisa and the Trump-supporting Republican Party.

It’s worth noting that many of Lisa’s surrogates used ugly and negative campaign techniques like online videos and memes that used personal attacks and lies to try to get votes. It obviously didn’t work, and in my opinion backfired on them.

These folks know who they are and we all know who they are. No need to name names here. One of Lisa’s biggest and loudest surrogates, who is probably most famous for being blocked by more people than anyone else in Norwalk history for her incendiary and incessant rants, even yelled at firemen who pulled up to vote at Columbus School, screamed at them and took their photos. She even took a photo of their license plate as if firemen could get in trouble for voting! It was quite a sight.

In hindsight, Lisa probably should have controlled that person and her negative online campaign early on, as well as others working on her behalf. But she did not, and I think all the negativity cost her a lot of votes.

I wish Lisa well and hope she enjoys touring India where she flew off to the day after the election.

Bobby Lamb November 13, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Isabelle’s comment above perfectly illustrates the absurdity of Lisa’s entire campaign. Inaccurate information twisted around to tell an inaccurate and misleading story. Lisa and team – there was no movement in the numbers. Harry got 55 percent last time. He got 55 percent this time. The numbers didn’t budge. It was not close. You lost. Stop trying to spin it.

Lois Bidder November 13, 2019 at 10:51 pm

What’s worse – being born with an extra thumb and everyone can see it (yuck!) & that’s for life! or having Trump as President (yuck) for another year or maybe term? – your thoughts Mr. Mushak?

Lisa Brinton November 14, 2019 at 2:07 am

The Rilling Camp can gloat all they want – but in reviewing the last 1:1 election in 2015, it produced the following results:

Rilling (D) 8,069
Straniti (R) 4675

I am proud of our campaign. People are waking up – just not fast enough in a blue city in a bankrupt state.

I always knew running as a U on the R line, in the age of Trump, would be a challenge. However, I’m grateful 36 members of the RTC gave me that chance. I would do it again and will not remain silent going forward. Someone needs to speak for the nearly 50% who are NOT represented in this town.

What holds Norwalk back from greatness are bogus racists statements to the press and getting everyone riled up to distract from the financial realities that plague our city and state.

To the average voter (not informed NON readers 🙂 how can that possibly compare to an unaffiliated woman begging, no pleading for better management and fiscal sanity? The lack of financial literacy still amazes me, along with Norwalkers threshold for pain.

Local voter turnout remains at less than 30%. Hardly a mandate for either of us (lol.) The mayor raised $150k, mainly from from special interests. We raised less than $50k from regular Norwalkers and struggled to spend it all. As best I can tell, the mayor’s spending of three times more per vote, pretty much correlates to how he runs the city or at least our parking lots.

What lies ahead for Norwalk is a larger than life school budget, more Poko lawsuits, illegal apartments, traffic and a declining grand list.

Despite best efforts, we may be doomed to single party rule like Bridgeport – amongst other future similarities – including lower property values and higher taxes.

Alma Lyons November 14, 2019 at 7:16 am

Harry won, Lisa Lost so Norwalk…Let’s Move Forward! Lisa and Harry should work together in a Bi-partisan way but I don’t see that happening. Lisa was quoted as saying “I’m not calling that man” [to concede]. That man… and as long as you think of him that way you will never get anywhere. You had a great campaign we know how much you spent we know how much he spent. Let’s stop talkin about it let’s move Norwalk forward. Let’s focus on our children, Let’s give them better schools and hire a superintendent that is not going to go back on their word. I’m tired of Norwalk having so many superintendent’s. It doesn’t make any sense. No one is for the children anymore. Lisa you have a lot of energy and a lot of supporters, encourage them, all 7,000 of them to go attend the common Council meetings, attend the Board of Education meetings so you all can help make things happen.

One last thing, I really didn’t want to bring it up but people don’t see what Mike Barbis said as racism. But if a white person in Cranberry was called a honky by a black person on the BoEd, trust me, it would have appeared on News12, Channel 8, and CNN.

Debora Goldstein November 14, 2019 at 5:56 pm

Alma,

The onus is on the Mayor and his team to invite Lisa into the process. It’s his house.

Unfortunately, their track record of including folks who disagree with him is pretty poor.

Perhaps he will see the value this time around…you know what they say…the fourth time’s the charm.

Lisa Brinton November 15, 2019 at 3:34 am

@ Alma he’s simply not interested. I voted for him when he promised to fix P&Z – the heart of our revenue & school enrollment issues. When he didn’t & pivoted to his 4 year term, myself & others took charter revision to the people. He lost & has held a grudge ever since.

We met privately in February, 2017 when he claimed no hard feelings & I laid out a number of areas where I’d love to help serve the city (I’ll share with NON upon my return.) Lip service & excuses is what I got. Nothing new – it happens to anyone not falling in line with a man whose been in an authority position his whole life. His disdain for opposing views on full display during the debates.

Developers with checkbooks & patronage appointments willing to call people ‘naysayers, racists, homophobes, or the currently popular Trumper’ is his playbook – not the merit of ideas addressing LOCAL issues.

It should be pretty clear, I’m not a typical politician – not coming through either party’s ranks. I’m a 60 year old, single mother, with 25 years of corporate & organizational experience cut short by cancer, who reinvented herself in education & got involved in all things Norwalk these past 12 years.

Excluding this news site, Norwalkers pay attention every two years. I ran in 2017 to get the issues on the table – spending largely my own money. This time, I didn’t have to. Regular residents supported a UNIFYING, pro Norwalk – don’t care what your party affiliation is – let’s fix things message. I’ll continue to plug away, but as Deb said, his track record of including those with other views is low & our 14-1 ‘strong council’ is anything but. So, Norwalk’s ‘growing’ 100k + residents are stuck with more of the same for the next two years. Given, voter turnout – it appears most don’t care.

Steve November 15, 2019 at 5:42 am

whatever happened to congratulations and best of luck ? All votes count alike whether they’re renters or owners. It’s not the dems fault they won all the BOE seats and 14-1 council. It would be good to have a more balanced political environment but at this stage of the game it probably means republicans have to move in a different direction. Their doom and gloom politics is a non-winner. As a friend of mine once told me her therapist said after she got divorced . Dont get even don’t bask in the sorrow of self pity, move forward

John ONeill November 15, 2019 at 3:11 pm

@Steve — 100% agreed GOPers need more energy. I wish I was 20 years younger. My wife is happy I’m not 20 years younger, at least as far as politics.

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