Brinton announces campaign against Duff

Lisa Brinton arrives at the Columbus Magnet School poll, Nov. 5 2019.

The 2022 Election is Nov. 8.

NORWALK, Conn. — Lisa Brinton is challenging State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) in this fall’s election. That makes two opponents for Duff, Brinton on the Independent Party line and Daniel Miressi on the Republican line.

Brinton, who has run for Mayor twice, founded Independents for Norwalk last year. Her Monday news release describes her as an “Independent turned third party activist,” and a “tireless advocate for education and housing reform.”

“Brinton wants to call attention to Hartford policies adversely impacting Norwalk’s education and environment, as well as, election reform.,” the news release said. “Doubling the size of cities, without regard to the impact on schools, roads, infrastructure and the environment is a problem. State funding for education hasn’t kept pace with Norwalk’s high need student population.”

“Hartford finds money for a regional high school, but can’t fund reading and math?” she is quoted as saying. “They claim to want to grow industries like financial services, manufacturing, bioscience, software and renewable energy. How will Norwalk compete when nearly half its students aren’t reading on grade level?”

The news release claims that Norwalk’s “academic performance has declined during Duff’s 18-year tenure” and says Brinton blames this on “Hartford’s housing and education funding policies.”

Duff did not reply to an email giving him a chance to respond to the Independent’s news release. He is seeking a tenth two-year term. District 25 comprises all of Norwalk and part of Darien.

Brinton’s news release states, “For Darien voters thinking Brinton’s emphasis on Norwalk too strong, she pointed out, ‘A healthy Norwalk is good for neighboring towns. Darien is impacted by Norwalk’s state concerns and would also benefit from election reform.’”

Miressi also did not reply to an email giving him a chance to respond to Brinton’s announcement.

Miressi was born in Norwalk and raised in Monroe, and first registered to vote in Norwalk three days before the convention, according to Republican Registrar Brian Smith.

State records show that Miressi has not attempted to qualify for a Citizen’s Election Program funding grant. He has not filed any documents showing fundraising results. In early June, Miressi checked a box saying he is “exempt from forming a candidate committee” because he was funding his own campaign and did not intend to raise seek contributions. The form indicates that he didn’t intend to spend more than $1,000.

On Sept. 7, Miressi reversed that course, filing an amended form saying he is forming a candidate committee and appointing Stephen Hill of Milford as his treasurer.

He has a new website, which states that he’ll be able to accept donations this week.

The Duff campaign had $117,115 on hand as of June 30, after a $99,500 shot in the arm from CEP funds landed, campaign documents show. The next filing is due Sept. 10.

NancyOnNorwalk received an email Monday alleging that Norwalk Republicans were pulling Miressi from the ballot.

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms responded to that and Brinton’s announcement by saying, “Lisa running for State Senate is not surprising. The Independent Party is looking to run their own candidates wherever possible. Daniel is the GOP certified candidate. Both will be on the ballot this November.”

Brinton’s Independents for Norwalk also announced Monday that Katherine Snedaker is running to be a registrar of voters. See separate story.

“Brinton is committed to bringing a viable independent third party to Norwalk and the state,” her news release said.  “‘More choices, means more voices, and that’s good for democracy.  “Bad policies, not personalities or parties hurt average residents.’”

Monday’s news release explains that Brinton grew up in Utah and her 25-year career as an executive in telecommunications took her to Asia and Europe. She moved to Norwalk in 1998.

“Following multiple bouts with cancer, she retired early to focus on family. An advocate of more open discussion and common sense policies in government, she narrowly lost her 2019 mayoral bid against incumbent, Harry Rilling, running as an Independent, cross endorsed by the Republican Party. In 2021, she resurrected the statewide Independent Party for the City of Norwalk. She and 14 other bi-partisan candidates ran for common council, Board of Education and other municipal offices. While only winning one office, the Independent Party received nearly 30 percent of the vote in most of their campaigns.”

Rilling won in 2019 with about 55% of the vote. In 2017, when Brinton was one of four candidates for Mayor, he won with about 56% of the vote.

Brinton was the only Common Council at large candidate presented by Independents for Norwalk in its nascent effort last year. She came in last. Her four Independent Board of Education candidates, also running city-wide, got more votes than she did.

The lone successful Independents’ candidate was Andy Meyerson, who handily beat Democrat Priscilla Feral to become a Sixth Taxing District Commissioner.

In March, Brinton became a member of the Independent Party State Central Committee member, she said. She is working to form a Norwalk Independent Party Town Committee.

“Like the state, over 40% of voters do not identify with either major party,” he news release said.

“We lag most states in election reform like open primaries, equal ballot access, early in-person voting, or Ranked Choice,” she is quoted as saying. “Both parties claim and counter claim a desire for fairer and freer elections – yet refuse to put in-place reforms that would increase turnout, improve proportional representation, increase checks and balances and transparency or tamp down party extremism.”

The release further quotes her as saying:

“Norwalk is now more densely populated than Stamford. In 2018, we sent $155M in income taxes from working and middle class residents to Hartford, ranking us 8 out of 169 municipalities. We send millions in sales tax revenues and get little back. Between tax incentives for developers and unfair state funding, Norwalk struggles to fund its declining school system or fund basic services without continuing to raise property taxes.

“When it comes to our infrastructure’s ability to support the increased density, look no further than the impact on our roads and sewers.  Traffic is unbearable and Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) just ordered Norwalk to clean up its water treatment system, after dumping raw and undertreated sewage in the Sound.”


Rilling signed a DEEP consent order in early May, agreeing that the city will hire consultants and update its Sanitary Sewer Collection System Master Plan by Sept. 30 and complete a facility plan update by June 30.

The order also notes that treatment plant microscreens were said to be out of service in 2017 and have not been repaired. Because of that, sewage has been dumped “without the equivalent of primary treatment” during wet weather, since May 17, 2017.

In a separate issue, DEEP states that the Ann Street siphon emergency overflow released raw sewage into the Norwalk River on June 28, 2018, and Aug. 22, 2016. DEEP orders that the siphon be eliminated from the system.


Johnny cardamone September 13, 2022 at 9:53 am

I’ve been independent for 45 years and I remember the good old days of Jenny Cave! we need a new party for me it’s the liberty party!🙏🏼🇺🇸💪🏼👍🏼

Bobby Lamb September 13, 2022 at 11:40 am

Boring. When will Lisa accept Norwalk voters are not interested in her negativity and half-truths. Going for a fourth straight loss? Ok by me.

Patrick Cooper September 13, 2022 at 5:17 pm

An overused expression but applicable here is – folks who can’t see the forest through the tree’s.

Lisa Brinton would be the very first to say – this isn’t about her, or any ambitions she has for power or control. This is a solution to a problem that plagues us locally, in this state, and quite seriously – nationwide.

The two party system is broken – never more obvious than right here in 1-party Norwalk. The “opposition” (or other viewpoint) has failed, so a different solution is needed. And by solution – I mean policy driven.

This is about building a moderate third line for the next generation. Lisa is playing “the long game”. A full 40% plus of the electorate (“U”) are largely ignored by the national parties, and they are shut-out of selecting candidates that address their issues, and mirror their own values. Minority rule is alive – and if you listened to the mayor after his latest campaign – he’s fine with that.

What you are “left” with is the most radical, from both the left and right side of the gutter. The middle of the road is empty. Yet, the vast number of American’s – and Norwalk residents – poll exactly there.

That is what the Independent party is about. Get used to us – we are here for the long haul.

Erik Anderson September 13, 2022 at 5:39 pm

I am looking forward to having Lisa in the race and watching what will likely be a robust debate and campaign season. So excited to see a third option on our ballots this year.

Priscilla Feral September 13, 2022 at 5:51 pm

On the score of Bob Duff’s candidacy for State Senator, his extraordinary efforts have improved Norwalk consistently. When I made the neighborhood rounds with him a year ago , I was impressed with how many Norwalk households were thrilled to see him at their door. People talked about his responsiveness, that he had helped them, and they had been the beneficiaries of his skill set. I’m both a Democrat and a fan.

Tanner Thompson September 13, 2022 at 7:26 pm

“Tireless advocate for housing reform”? All I’ve ever heard Lisa advocate for is keeping the status quo – a status quo that is leading to ever-higher housing costs.

We do need housing reform, and the reform we need is coming from organizations like DesegregateCT. Some of it is filtering through Hartford, slowly – but Norwalk could be leading out in policies that would bring down the cost of housing.

Bob Schumann September 13, 2022 at 7:40 pm

I keep seeing obviously conservative posters who are consistently dissing Mayor Rilling, Senator Duff and every other Democrat in municipal office, calling themselves “moderates” and promoting Lisa Brinton every time she runs for whatever office is up for election during that current year. I have yet to see a difference between her and those promoting her on this site with those honest enough to admit they are Republicans! The two party system isn’t broken. The Republican party is broken and attempting to rebrand yourselves as “The Independent Party” and trying to palm yourselves off as “moderates” doesn’t and never has fooled any but a small minority of voters.

Jo Bennett September 14, 2022 at 7:43 pm

Bob (and Priscilla) – I am a lifelong Democrat, and disagree on any assertion that the two-party system ISN’T broken – it actually creates monopolies that are at their worst on the state and local levels.
Monopoly: the opposite of perfect competition. Where our citizens are urged to simply vote along a row (Always “A” locally, instead of evaluating the individual candidates on their platforms and merits.)
Voter turnout is abysmal because people have given up on believing that their votes matter. Thanks to Lisa Brinton (who has my vote) for keeping this issue at the forefront and having the vision, courage and smarts to engage our electorate with a third party.
I voted for Biden (though I would have preferred to vote for Warren), Obama and both Clintons. So please stop with blanket claims that Independents are closet Republicans. We’re a diverse bunch who appreciate an alternative to the moo mentality.

george dombakly September 14, 2022 at 7:50 pm

The article regarding Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection ordering Norwalk to stop dumping raw sewage into Norwalk River should be followed up and headlined and broadcasted on all local news channels. There has been reports within the last five years that flesh eating bacteria have harmed swimmers in Calf Pasture Beach which absorbs all the raw sewage emitted from Norwalk’s so-called Water Treatment plant that dumps onto the Norwalk River. Children as well as adults have been affected by the raw sewage dumped into the Norwalk River and then washed up along Calf Pasture Beach. However it appears that all the reports of Norwalk’s life threatening water pollution are hushed up by City Hall. You never hear about how bad the water really is on Channel 12 News. You dont hear about EPA testing the water on Calf Pasture Beach. On certain evenings you could find the polluted water and its raw sewage emanating from the pipe located below the walkway to Calf Pasture Beach’s fishing pier. I and many others are afraid of swimming in Calf Pasture Beach because of prior infections of fungus as well as bacteria. People I know have been scarred by bacteria from swimming in Calf Pasture Beach. Having music concerts is nice but why cant Norwalk have a clean beach. Why does Norwalk have to have the lowest quality of water compared to any other town in Fairfield County.

Valerie Bucci September 14, 2022 at 9:19 pm

Time for a change. Duff needs to go. 18 years is way too long to be in a political position. Step aside Duff. Term limits are desperately needed! Glad to see Lisa is running!

Nora King September 15, 2022 at 1:02 pm

#termlimits Tired of career politicians. 20 years of Bob Duff. Don’t you think it is time for a change? Why are we allowing people to be career politicians with no new energy or new thoughts? Doesn’t CT deserve better? I think it does.

Michael McGuire September 16, 2022 at 12:33 pm

I think its great that Lisa is running.

Considering the inability of the Republican party to get anything done locally and nationally, and the hyper authoritarianism of the Democrats at all levels, Lisa’s running is a good thing.

My challenge to the left. Publicly debate her on policies.

My challenge to the right. Do something meaningful.

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