Updated, 4 a.m. Friday, July 19: explanation of Krummel’s absence; the voting for BOE members added as attachment.
NORWALK, Conn. – The numbers did not add up to an easy resolution in the unprecedented battle at Tuesday night’s Norwalk Democratic Convention.
After eight votes — the last five of which were identical — failed to achieve the desired goal of endorsing one of four candidates for mayor, former Mayor Alex Knopp made a motion to adjourn. That vote produced a result – game over, no endorsed candidate.
Within half an hour, District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra released a statement titled “Rilling, Garfunkel, Miklave vote to adjourn, no party endorsement made; As Mangiacopra gained votes, other camps forced to go for no nomination.”
The release stated Mangiacopra had gained the most votes as the convention wore on.
True – Harry Rilling had 14 votes in the first count and 16 votes in the last count, while Mangiacopra had 10 votes initially, which grew to 15, but 18 were needed to get the endorsement. DTC rules do not allow candidates with fewer votes to be dropped.
Going into the later rounds of voting, Andy Garfunkel and Matt Miklave each had two votes, including their own. Scott Kimmich, who had made the sales pitch for Miklave before the voting, would not back down. David Jaeger, who ran for town clerk as Garfunkel’s running mate in the 2011 election, wasn’t there, but his proxy, Kathleen Watts, was sticking with Jaegar’s wishes and voting for Garfunkel every time.
The only way the vote tally was going to change was if people started leaving, having been worn down by the lateness of the hour and the futility of living through a scene reminiscent of the movie “Groundhog Day.”
All of Mangiacopra’s supporters voted against adjourning. Everyone else voted for it. The title of his statement is accurate. So is the opening line: “After total of eight ballots cast throughout the evening and Mangiacopra gaining the most votes, the three other camps voted together to adjourn.”
As he talked to reporters after the adjournment, he talked of strategy.
“I feel that if we were to go multiple ballots we were assured of getting the nomination,” he said. “It looked like it was a strategy amongst the three other candidates in the race to have a no vote and pretty much go to an open primary. But I’m proud of all my supporters who stuck by us and saw the momentum that we were bringing to this convention. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit late right now but it was a clear strategy right now to go this route.”
He did not return a Wednesday afternoon email asking how victory would have been achieved if more votes had been taken.
The Miklave, Garfunkel and Rilling camps responded to an email asking about their petition efforts, though. Apparently it was busy in the registrars’ office early Wednesday.
Miklave said he had started first thing in the morning, as he had promised Tuesday. Rilling Campaign Coordinator David Murchie said, “We had some folks, including Harry, getting certified by the registrar’s office at 8:30 a.m. when they opened this morning, and we’ve been adding new petition circulators all day.”
Garfunkel said he had gotten petitions at 9 a.m. and already had two pages filled.
Mangicopra was also asked about his petition efforts. He did not respond.
The candidates each need about 775 signatures, DTC Chairwoman Amanda Brown said.
Also at the DTC:
• Missing from the scene was District E Chairman William Krummel, who has since said that he and his wife Regina had a long scheduled visit out of town with family and friends. Stuart Wells served as his proxy, voting to give Regina Krummel a Board of Education nomination before switching to Heidi Keyes in a run-off, prompting Brown to ask him to repeat his vote.
• The run-off for the fourth BOE spot featured all three of the lowest vote-getters. Heidi Keyes, the incumbent Board of Education member, was tied with Olivia Dardy for the fourth spot in the original vote. Again, rules do not allow for dropping the lowest vote-getter. The tally in the three-way run-off was Keyes 20, Dardy 11, Krummel three. Incumbent BOE member Rosa Murray voted for Dardy. The three candidates who made it in on the first ballot were Shirley Mosby, Sherelle Harris and Haroldo Williams
• The Mangiacopra and Rilling camps had pizza delivered. This led to jokes: Whose pizza are you eating? Is it partisan?