NORWALK, Conn. — John Metsopoulos says he is proud of the 1,195 votes he got in District C.
“To be very frank, very candid, my first time out I was very impressed,” said the former Fairfield first selectman, who came up short in his bid to be an in-district Common Council member. “I ran against a very nice woman who grew up in Norwalk, who owns a business for many years and I came close. I think that that shows that my message resonated with the voters. I am not going anywhere.”
Metsopoulos came in third, as incumbent Democrat John Kydes got 1,887 votes, incumbent Republican Michelle Maggio got 1,616 votes and Republican newcomer Michael Demo got 970 votes.
Kydes and Maggio are lifelong Norwalkers. Maggio is co-owner of Mike’s Deli, which is in District C.
Metsopoulos has a deep background in politics and government service, having represented the Connecticut 132nd District in the General Assembly from 1984 to 1994, and serving on the Fairfield Board of Selectmen from 1999 to 2003, the first two years as first selectman. That was as a Republican.
He spent nine years in Florida before moving to Norwalk in 2012, working as a program manager for transportation and development agencies in Fort Lauderdale and the Economic Development Agency in Seminole County.
“It was wonderful experience. It was tiring; I mean, campaigning is tiring. Everybody says ‘win or lose, I’m still happy.’ Well no, I’m much happier if I won,” Metsopoulos said, laughing.
There was “a lot going on” in the election, he said.
“As the new guy, I think there were alliances both on the Republican and Democratic sides,” Metsopoulos said. “Some of the Democrats worked with Republicans against me and some of the Republicans worked with the Democrats against me. I got that feeling. Having said that, I think the issue is always name recognition. I think that is primarily how people get elected. Good people sometimes don’t get elected because, even though they have the qualifications, the message doesn’t get out there. The media tries to do a good job – actually you guys did a phenomenal job in articulating, but how many people really pay attention?”
“I had a lot of Republicans prior to the election come up to me and tell me I did very well in the debate,” Metsopoulos said. “A couple of them said ‘based on your form in the debate you should win.’ (Republican Town Committee Chairman) Pete Torrano actually came up to me after the election and told me I ran a very clean, issue-oriented race.”
Torrano confirmed that. “Told him he was fair and issue based,” Torrano said.
“I think that even though I did not win I think I have built a reputation as a solid campaigner, issue-oriented, clean campaigner. I think that investment I made for myself and for the city. I am looking forward to serving the city and working for Mayor Rilling in the upcoming two years,” Metsopoulos said.
He would like to get on a board or commission, and will try to sit down with Rilling to discuss where he can be helpful, he said. “Then, in the future, I want to run again.”
“Had I understood the dynamics a little better, I would have run at-large this time,” Metsopoulos said. “But in two years I think some of the people who have run at-large aren’t going to be running at-large, so I am going to consider running at-large. … I don’t want to sound cocky, please don’t take it that way, but I think my experience, and my both professional political experience and my professional business background, an at-large candidacy makes more sense.”
“When I look at my numbers I am very proud of what I have done,” Metsopoulos said. “I got a lot of votes and I got a lot of votes by campaigning hard. But in two years that is what I would do.”
Will he try to get on the Democratic Town Committee?
“I have to think about that,” Metsopoulos said. “I am political enough to know there’s pluses and minuses to being involved in the Democratic Town Committee. I can say this, whether I get on as a seat or whether I step back, I will be a voice and I will be helping to shape the future of the Democratic Party in Norwalk.”