Norwalk insiders: Moccia’s thinking over another run

Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia looks introspective as a speaker talks at Tuesday’s BOE meeting.

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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7 responses to “Norwalk insiders: Moccia’s thinking over another run”

  1. Tim T

    Oh please Moccia’s not going to run because he knows that he will lose. He is so arrogant that he would not run before he would say that he LOST…As far as Rilling goes he was a joke as chief and would be a joke as mayor. What is it with these live long public employees that they never know when to call it quits? How many pensions do they need? The only one as far as I can see that truly cares about Norwalk is Andy..

  2. John Frank

    It is not hard to think of Rilling as life-long city employee, but Moccia hasn’t worked for the city all that long, although I think he qualifies for some retirement benefits.

    Moccia may really not have decided yet. One factor will be who his party will run if he retires. He really doesn’t want to see a democrat win, no matter who it is..

    1. Tim T

      What do you make of Moccia appointng Rilling to the zoning board..It seems to me to be a stepping stone for Rilling to keep active in Norwalk to set up a bid for mayor. Why would Moccia do this if he did not want Rilling the democrat to become mayor?

      1. John Frank

        I believe moccia overestimated his control of Rilling and may have figured nobody ever jumped from zoning to th mayor’s office.
        I hope the Dems pick a candidate they can all support without a primary. In my experiene primaries divide the party and supply ammunition for the other party. The three mentioned are all good men, but pitting them against each other would do more harm than good.

        1. Oldtimer

          In the HOUR today(Sunday), Reilly predicts moccia will run again and then points out his record on political predictions is not too good.

          Moccia loves the job, loves the ribbon cutting, loves the city car and access to all the big news before the media gets it, loves the power to control council debate. Heady stuff, he will find it hard to give up. Someday, he will discover his time past at age 70 and it is time to kick back and let the next generation take the helm. Someday…….

  3. Al Raymond

    Al Raymond for mayor

  4. Diane C2

    Al, puh-lease run!

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