NORWALK, Conn. – Dudley and Audrey Wiyguf, the 118th and 119th voters at Brookside Elementary School, voted for “the one with the difficult last name” Tuesday.
That would be Vinny Mangiacopra.
“We just like what he had to say,” Dudley Wiyguf, 83, said. “We don’t particularly care for the present mayor.”
Opinions varied among the voters at four polling places, but all of the Democrats agreed, not unexpectedly, it was time for Republican Mayor Richard Moccia to go.
At St. Mary’s Church hall, one middle-aged woman said she voted for “the younger one.” She didn’t say why.
Janie Bowman, mother of Mangiacopra campaign treasurer Faye Bowman, voted for Mangiacopra at Columbus Elementary School.
She wasn’t sure how it was going. “It’s hard to call,” she said.
She said she’d support who ever won. “That’s the important thing, what’s good for Norwalk,” she said.
Raymond Lamour and Auguste Willy said they voted for Mangiacopra at Columbus.
“The way he talks, what he says he’s going to do,” Lamour said. “If I feel comfortable with that, that’s what I do.”
Lamour said Mangiacopra had called him and he had seen him in television.
Sam White voted for Harry Rilling at Columbus.
“I do a little history,” he said. “I think the man did a good job.”
Nelsie Pena, Warren Pena’s mom, was handing out Mangiacopra postcards at Columbus. She was optimistic. “The Spanish people, they told me, you know,” she said. “We voting for Vinny, they say.”
Elly Robinson voted for Mangiacopra. “It was close,” she said. “I was thinking about Rilling but ended up with Mangiacopra.”
Both candidates visited her house, most recently Rilling.
“I liked his energy,” she said, of Mangiacopra.
Mamie Chappel said, “I voted for the right one,” but would not reveal who that was. She read the mailers to make her decision.
One woman walking away from Marvin Elementary School said she had told Rilling she voted for him, but she had voted for Miklave. “My friends said he is a very honest and caring man.”
Deb Goldstein, who doubled as a Miklave campaign worker and a Third Taxing District commissioner candidate, spent the day standing outside Marvin Elementary School. It seemed to be half Mangiacopra and half Miklave voters in the morning, she said. The afternoon seemed to be Rilling voters.
Rilling was standing down the sidewalk, further from the entrance to the polls. He seemed aghast when Frank Verheggen walked up, with the help of a walker, an oxygen tube under his nose.
Verheggen said he had walked to the poll from The Marvin senior center. He came with a friend, who also walked from The Marvin.
Rilling called campaign workers to get them a ride home, though the woman protested, “Walking is good for you!”
Verheggen said everyone at The Marvin was voting for Rilling. Asked what he liked about the former police chief, Verheggen joked that he had gotten arrested once and the food was good.
“I can’t believe the dedication,” Rilling said. “This is the American way, someone who truly appreciates that we have a right to vote in a fair election. It amazes me.”
State Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk) was inside the polling place, working as the moderator. Attendance was average, he said.
“Overall I think the turnout has been pretty steady. It’s average, but it’s not off, which is the key thing. I think people are paying attention.”
This type of election would draw people, he said, as neighbors would vote for the person they know.
There were 393 votes cast as of 5:45 p.m. at West Rocks.
It was “steady” with 80 voters every two or three hours, Odessa Smith, the moderator, said. She said she was surprised to find three or four people waiting to vote at 6 a.m.
She said she turned away “a lot” of independent voters and people who assumed they were Democrats and were not.
Ashley Bliss-Budnick, 29, voted for Mangiacopra.
“It seems like people more of my generation, my age, support him,” she said.
Kristen Waterbury voted for Andy Garfunkel, because he is her friend, he said.
One unnamed voter said she voted for Mangiacopra because she had read a lot of “his stuff” in the paper and online and she liked his answers to questions more than the others.
One woman who kept her choice of a vote to herself said, “I really want to see a big change in education and in the community.”
Asked if she thought the Dems could win the general election, she said, “I hope so.”
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