Norwalk Democratic convention: Mangiacopra vs. the count

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From left, Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling, District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra and Common Councilman Matt Miklave have a conference an hour after the mayoral voting began at the Democratic convention. Miklave sent out a Tweet five minutes later saying that his vote was non-negotiable.

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?

DTC votes

DTC votes BOE

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District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, right, studies a laptop screen with supporters Mike Barbis, Nora King and John Igneri Tuesday night in the City Hall community room.


22 responses to “Norwalk Democratic convention: Mangiacopra vs. the count”

  1. NorwalkVoter

    Another hissy fit from Vinny boy. And his count is wrong. The Chair voted to adjourn and she was a Vinny supporter. Spin, spin, spin.

  2. Don’t Panic

    Mr. Mangiacopra has been making a rather serious allegation of collusion against the other three candidates, which is patently false. And it is a sign of character that all of the other contenders were willing to accept the results of an orderly democratically held meeting, while he clings to the notion that this nomination was his to lose.

    If you were to remove the remaining Garfunkel and Miklave voters from the equation, every single ballot would have gone to Mr. Rilling.

    The number and speed (and validity) of petition signatures will be a good indicator of true Norwalk support, since (unlike monetary contributions) these must come from Norwalk.

  3. rburnett

    Not surprising Vinny would try to spin gold out of straw. If the other candidates recognized the impasse and were willing to accept the reality of the situation, why couldn’t he? Because he shows his true colors whenever he doesn’t get his way. He stomps his feet and acts like a bully Sound like anyone else we know? Current mayor maybe?

  4. NorwalkLifer

    LOL! In your last article, Nancy, you wrote Harry refused to comment on the secret conversation before the adjournment vote. Might want to mention that!

    The votes could have changed if Matt and Andy dropped out since they had NO chance of getting nomination. Seems like Harry knew he would lose if that happened.

  5. M Allen

    It is very obvious why it went down like it did. The only legitimate chance Miklave or Garfunkel have is through a primary. As a result, the 4 votes between them were not going to budge and give the nomination away, thus closing out any chance they have left. That means it would have required vote shifting between the leaders, but by that point in the night, the sides were likely hardened in their positions.

    To fault Mr. Mangiacopra for expressing his displeasure with the non-outcome is probably wrong. I’m pretty sure most party members, let alone the candidates, would have preferred coming out of the convention with a declared candidate and a unified party. Instead, the DTC is at a time disadvantage. Rather than run against their opponent they must spend the next 2 months continuing to run against one another. Perhaps the rules need to be changed to avoid this in the future. You could consider holding a primary right from the start and put it in the hands of your constituents rather than vote trading my the party establishment. Perhaps consider using a Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system which is designed to reflect the will of the voter by ranking all candidates. But in the end, being in disarray needs to be avoided because you’ve only hurt your chances in the general election.

  6. D(ysfunctional)TC

    Not only is Vinny the least qualified, but now he shows that he might not be mentally fit as well. Give him an A for effort, but someone tell this poor child to stop embarrassing himself.

  7. Tom

    Mangiacopra wanted the nomination because he knew he couldn’t easily get 775 signatures. It’s not easy to get 775 signatures when no one in Norwalk knows who the heck you are, most of the supporters at his recent rally were politicians and union bosses from Bridgeport.

  8. M. Murray’s

    The voting probably would not have changed. If the 4 hadn’t changed their votes after 8 rounds, they probably weren’t going to.

  9. M Allen

    Those 4 were never going to change. 2 were Miklave and Garfunkel themselves, and the other 2 were Kimmich (Miklave) and Jaeger (Garfunkel) who weren’t changing. Jaeger’s vote was proxied by a rep for him and was hardwired to Garfunkel. Even if Kimmich were swayed to change, his single vote would not have ended the night. It required Miklave and/or Garfunkel to throw in the tower and that was never going to happen. They more than anyone want a primary.

  10. rburnett

    Let’s look at the numbers: Rilling 16 – Mangiacopra 15 – Miklave 2 – Garfunkel 2. Total votes in room 35. If Garfunkel and Miklave gave up their votes and left, that would leave 31 votes in the room. Rilling 16 – Mangiacopra 15. That Makes Rilling the endorsed candidate. Mangiacopra should be happy Miklave and Garfunkel stood their ground but he is too egotistical to see that.

  11. D(ysfunctional)TC

    If you could caption the picture, it might look something like this. Bubble over Vinny’s head reads “I can’t believe this. I’m supposed to be mayor. It is my birthright.”
    Rilling “I crap bigger than you”.

  12. M Allen

    Serious question: are the Democrats looking for change or just victory? Out of the 4, who is the establishment candidate and who is the candidate(s) most likely to at least TRY and implement the radical change so many voices seem to indicate is necessary? Victory with an establishment candidate probably results in not much changing. Is it better to “just win” and hope that is enough or risk the victory and go for big shifts in how the city is run?

  13. Tom

    @D(ysfunctional)TC “It is my birthright”…that is hilarious…well said

  14. @NorwalkVoter
    I have a recording of the vote to adjourn – I clearly hear Amanda Brown say no.
    I just confirmed that with her via email. She says she voted “no.”

  15. Your Daddy

    Because Vinny has been working hand in hand with Amanda the entire time she’s been Town Chair. He is the only candidate to sign the Democratic pledge. Could you imagine if the City was run like the DTC has been lately?

  16. Tom

    Vinny supports Amanda, Amanda supports Vinny, this is why the endorsement was so important for Vinny, he thought it would give him legitimacy, but the fact that he couldn’t even muster enough votes and his child like attitude after he didn’t get his way, should disqualify him from even running.

  17. Tim T

    Actully Tom this is more accurate
    Rilling supports Amanda, Amanda supports Rilling
    Moccia is Rilling and Rilling is Moccia

    (Editor’s note: For the record, Amanda Brown cast her vote for Vinny Mangiacopra on every ballot.)

  18. Tim T

    just look at Rilling’s angry face in that pic. Reminds you of Moocia when he doesn’t get his way.
    Moccia is Rilling
    Rilling is Moccia

  19. Your Daddy

    Tom is correct, but it’s a house of cards – two people without credibility can’t create legitimacy. And what’s with the pic of Vinny in the faces of the Rowayton contingent? I thought those people had more sense to align with Amanda and Vinny.

  20. Tom

    Yes, why are Rowayton dems aligning themselves with Mangiacopra, it makes absolutely no sense

  21. bobby

    I do not understand the insults against Mr. Vinny Mangiacopra.
    People are mean in here, I wonder if they are always like that.
    Vinny is a TRUE Democrat, unlike the ex-police chief who runs because Mr. Moccia pushed him to retire.
    Mr. Rilling in my opinion he is an undercover con-serve-at-ive.
    I am an independent and I will change to a Democrat because of Vinny.
    I am a very concern Norwalker about old people and ideas keep running our town.
    Remember, the best Mayor we had he was an Italian.
    Politicians and diapers should be changed, plus I want to know where the $4,000,000 got lost. Thank you

  22. bobby

    To *Tom*
    My friend you need to relax and take a chill pill.
    Unions are NOT bad for the common and middle class people, as for the 775 signatures Vinny needs, I can get them in one day.
    I really have a problem with your hostility.
    You must be a really angry man.
    Try to relax friend, life is too short to punch anything in your way.

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