NORWALK, Conn. — Some election-related info:
- Police Chief says Officer didn’t approve his appearance in political ad
- Miressi launches podcast
- Whatever happened to…?
- A first – Brinton finished last in Rowayton
Uniformed officer’s image used to promote candidate
Norwalkers received multiple campaign fliers before the Nov. 8 election but one stood out: Norwalk Police Officer Mark Suda, in uniform, with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski.
Questions have been asked all over the country about the use of public resources – in this case a police uniform and police vehicle – in a political campaign. In 2019, a Jacksonville, Fla., Ethics Commission weighed in, saying that a local law couldn’t be used to keep officers in uniform from appearing in TV ads, only from campaigning face-to-face.
In Texas, the issue pivots on whether the officer bought the uniform or the municipality did.
Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik confirmed that it’s against department policy.
“I was made aware and we reviewed and found that it was not approved as an endorsement by the officer. He was not aware the photo was to be used in promotional material. During campaign season numerous photos are taken in a variety of environments. We do have a policy against endorsements in uniform or which may appear that the department is making an endorsement of any candidate,” Kulhawik said in an email.
Suda is Norwalk Republican Town Committee District D Chairman.
‘Everyone’s favorite Senate candidate’
Daniel Miressi, calling himself “perennial Duff opponent” after one electoral challenge to State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), has debuted a podcast. Released Nov. 14, the first episode is titled “Grievances.”
“What we plan on doing is continuing to spread awareness about the issues, about, you know, how awful Bob Duff is, and Ned Lamont and the rest of the Democratic cartel that run this state,” said Miressi.
Miressi registered as a Norwalk voter three days before being endorsed by the Norwalk Republican Town Committee to oppose Duff. He won 34.5% of the vote Nov. 8, the poorest showing for a Republican Duff opponent since 2012, according to Secretary of State records, as the only Republican Duff opponent who also faced an Independent candidate. He didn’t apply for Citizens Election Program (CEP) funding.
“We wounded Bob Duff,” Miressi said in his podcast. “If you look back what we did … It’s incredible. We got over 11,000 votes, not one TV ad, not one mailer.”
The State election fund is “dishonest,” because people may not “even know that they’re using taxpayer money,” he said, calling it “campaign welfare” and a “slush fund.”
Democrats have “stolen people’s hopes” and “Liberalism is a mental disorder,” Miressi said, calling the Democratic Party “an anti-American party.”
But he didn’t stop at the opposition party.
“The Republicans, they don’t want power. They don’t want to fight for the people. They want a social club to fund raise,” Miressi said. “…The Republican Party just wants to keep it to the country clubs. All they are worried about is their wealth, they’re worried about their 401ks.”
Republicans had no message, and feeling unsupported, he went “grassroots,” he said.
“The Republican Party is the grassroots, that is our base,” he said. “Frankly, that is what this podcast is going to be about. It is going to be an outlet for the true voices of Connecticut Republicanism. We are punk rock conservatives. Republicanism is the way forward; we believe in the individual.”
Miressi said that when he started his campaign, he was “overly ambitious” and “we didn’t really know what we faced.”
“We wanted to get this (podcast) out on the books because it is a travesty that the Republicans are running and hiding after they lost an election,” Miressi said. “Fine. We will see you in 24. We have a lot of things planned. … Ned, Bobby, we’re coming for you.”
Just over a year ago, on Election Night, Republican Mayoral candidate Jonathan Riddle said he’d be running again in 2023.
Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling won with 60% of the vote.
“I’m going to keep Harry accountable, I’m going to watch every single move that he does, I’m going to call out all of his failures,” Riddle said. “And we are going to watch the Board of Education to make sure that they’re doing the proper things for our children in this city, and improving the education instead of focusing on things that are outside of the classroom.”
A Nov. 15 email to Riddle’s Mayoral campaign address, asking if he still plans on running and if he’s on social media with Rilling criticisms, went unanswered. It didn’t bounce back as undeliverable.
Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms said, “We have not seen or heard anything from Jonathan in the past year.”
Brinton came in third – everywhere
Bob Duff and Daniel Miressi did something that other contestants have not – beat competitor Lisa Brinton in votes cast at Rowayton Elementary School.
Brinton lived in Rowayton for 22 years before moving to Shorefront Park two-plus years ago. She was active and is well-known in her former home area.
She’s run city-wide four times and until this election, gotten the most votes cast in Rowayton for the office she was seeking. Records show:
- In 2021, Brinton ran for Common Council at large, a city-wide position. She got 633 votes in Rowayton – more than any R or D. The closest competitor was Nora Niedzielski-Eichner with 526 votes, split with 477 as Niedzielski-Eichner as a Dem and 49 with Niedzielski-Eichner as Working Families Party.
- In 2019, Brinton was the Republican endorsed Mayoral candidate, running only on one line. She lost to Democratic Mayor Harry Rilling but handily won Rowayton with 609 votes to his 431.
- In 2017, Brinton ran as one of four Mayoral candidates, petitioning her way onto the ballot and appearing third on the list. Even with this disadvantage, she scored the most votes: Brinton had 469 votes, Rilling had 357, Republican candidate and fellow Rowaytonite Andy Conroy had 116 and Bruce Morris didn’t get any.
This September, Brinton jumped onto the ballot as an Independent Party opponent to State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), saying that the Independents were uncomfortable with Republican candidate Daniel Miressi and she wanted to keep their slot on the ballot.
Miressi topped Brinton, even in Rowayton. Duff scored 681 votes at Rowayton Elementary, Miressi had 352 and Brinton received 208.
Brinton did not reply to an email giving her a chance to respond.
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