By Nancy Guenther Chapman
NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s mayor hasn’t made up his mind whether he’ll run for re-election, two Republicans say. Meanwhile, some significant Democrats are lining up to challenge him for his would-be fifth two-year term.
Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling says he’s interested in running. Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, the 2010 Democratic mayoral candidate, says he’s definitely running and Common Council member Matt Miklave has formed an exploratory committee.
Mayor Richard Moccia mentioned running at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting after a presentation about teacher evaluations. Moccia compared his review of the city’s 18 ordnance employees to the hoops school administrators jump through to evaluate teachers, saying, “If I had to go through this I probably wouldn’t run for mayor again.”
Obviously, he hasn’t ruled it out.
What do BOE Republicans think about the mayor running again? Board Chairman Mike Lyons said, “I really don’t know. Every other time that he’s run he’s always said, ‘Well, I haven’t made up my mind,’ but I was always sort of sure he would run. This time I’m really not sure. I think he’s keeping his options open, but he may not want to do it again. I don’t know. I think it’s genuinely up in the air. I think if you put him on a lie detector he wouldn’t know himself. I think he’s very much on the edge.”
Jack Chiaramonte didn’t know either.
“I don’t think he knows,” Chiaramonte said. “I think he’s thinking it over with his wife, I suppose, see what they want to do.”
Moccia did not return a request for comment.
Garfunkel is sure he’s running for the Democratic nomination. “The Hour had it wrong,” he said, of the news report that he, like Miklave, has formed an exploratory committee. “I have a full-fledged committee for running for mayor. I have declared that is the position that I am seeking office for. There is no other position, that is it. Once a candidate has declared, you file the proper papers for it and that’s what I did, almost a month ago.”
He didn’t know about Moccia, either. “I’d be interested to hear,” he said. “The last time he announced in December, so either it’s not as anxious or they’re still contemplating within the party who should run. Is he contemplating retiring? I don’t know. He hasn’t played any hand.”
Chiaramonte said candidates announce early to begin their fundraising. Garfunkel agreed, adding that there are organizational purposes involved. There could be a Democratic primary, he said.
Rilling confirmed rumors he may run. “I think people know that I have expressed an interest,” he said. “I’ve given it some thought and, at this particular time, I am not ready to make any statements and comments relative to what my final decision will be.”
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