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Election results sting, but Scicchitano ‘enjoyed every second of it’

Then-Republican Mayoral candidate Vinny Scicchitano, Oct. 19 in his East Norwalk business, Accurate Auto.

Disappointment dogs former Republican Mayoral candidate Vinny Scicchitano, not for himself but for the people he feels he let down.  

“I’m disappointed for all the people that keep coming in every day and, you know, emailing me and texting me and sending me letters, that, they really hoped …  to see a city in a direction more of a community-type feel, kind of the way that you know, Norwalk had been for many, many years,” Scicchitano said.

Scicchitano, who owns an auto repair business in East Norwalk, announced nearly a year ago that he was challenging Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling in November’s election. Rilling won with 55.45% of the vote. Scicchitano, while falling short, did significantly better than Republican challenger Jonathan Riddle did two years ago.

  • 2023: Rilling had 55.5% of the vote
  • 2021: Rilling had 63.6% of the vote
  • 2019: Rilling had 55.5% of the vote
  • 2017: Rilling had 56% of the vote
  • 2015: Rilling had 62.1% of the vote
Accurate Auto’s office includes a photo of owner Vinny Scicchitano’s last drag race.

Disappointment is key in Scicchitano’s “million mixed emotions,” but he’s careful to say, “It’s been a wonderful experience. I enjoyed every second of it.”

Rilling’s campaign had backing all the way back to Washington, with “U.S. Senators stumping for him.”

“On my side, frankly, we had an auto mechanic and two of his friends,” Scicchitano said, adding that he thinks the trio “did pretty well” given their opponent has “a well-oiled machine that goes from here to Hartford over to Washington, literally. That’s financed by developers, land use attorneys, land use management firms.”

The two friends were Diana Paladino, “99.999% of my campaign” and “amazing,” and Tricia Massucco, “just the right person at the right time to come in and help do this.” Other helpers include his sister-in-law and daughter.

Accurate Auto’s office includes a sign from a defunct Norwalk drive in movie theater.

Scicchitano said he’s “a very much” changed person.

“I’m still optimistic for the future,” he said. “… After spending a year investigating and looking at things and numbers and, you know, facts and figures and kind of pulling the covers off of things, I really have a better insight into government, how it works; at this point in time, whether it be the City, the State or the Federal government, this doesn’t seem to represent everyone any longer.”

It seems lopsided, and “you’re gonna get a whole facet of our society that isn’t happy … people that genuinely are sad. I had a woman come and she had tears in her eyes with tears in her eyes. She really did.”

So while it was a wonderful experience, it was also a difficult experience.

He loves the people he met, including Common Council candidates whom he didn’t know and now sees as “really really great people,” and he forged new friendships. He loved the debates, that he could shake Rilling’s hand afterwards and remain friends. But the last-minute appeal from State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) predicting that Republican and Independent candidates would halt school construction funding and infrastructure projects was “really disheartening,” “very hateful” and “very disrespectful.”

“That was that was one negative aspect of this whole campaign,” Scicchitano said. “That really, really hurt a lot of people. You know, that’s a divisive action of some people that are in power and, and will do anything to remain in power.”

Accurate Auto’s office includes a mural.

It’s another thing that’s wrong with government, and politics is “not a great way to approach anything. I think you should approach things from what’s best for everyone,” he said. “But that that was the only one negative aspect of the whole campaign and a whole race that I can actually I can actually look to. Everything else I thought was a truly positive.”

On Election Night, supporters said Scicchitano should run again. He later mentioned fishing in Key West as an alternative. But while he’d like to go fishing for a few weeks this winter, he’d never move to Florida. “I love Norwalk.”

As for running, “That’s a long way off. It’s hard to say I’m not. I’m not saying yes. I’m not saying no.”

He would require a dramatically larger grassroots movement, “a lot more people on the ground,” he said. “A lot of factors have to come in line for that to happen. We’ll see. First and foremost, we have to see the condition of the city, especially financially, what that’s going to look like in a year.  So that’s going to be a real deciding factor. So our bond rating could be in jeopardy, which we’re getting to about 10% of our debt service, and there’s a lot of things that are going to change. So it’s a very fluid situation, and we’ll see what it looks like then.”

A pet at Accurate Auto.

In the meantime, he’s coming to terms with his mixed emotions following the defeat.

“I never thought I would feel this way after win, or lose, anything,” he said. “…When you put when you put your heart and soul into something, and it maybe perhaps doesn’t go your way, I can still see all the positives, like I said. How many people feel as if they can speak up or became aware of a lot of situations? So I think I’ve done a good job.”

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