NORWALK, Conn. – With the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee set to hold its nominating convention Tuesday night at City Hall, it seems fitting that we should bring you the closing statements from the mayoral candidates at June’s NDTC mayoral forum.
The four candidates – Andy Garfunkel, Vinny Mangiacopra, Harry Rilling and Matt Miklave – were each given two minutes to make their closing pitch to the committee members and others in the City Hall Common Council Chambers as to why they were most deserving of the party’s endorsement moving forward in a bid to unseat incumbent Republican Richard Moccia.
All four candidates have previously said that, regardless of who comes away with the party’s backing, they intend to force a primary election in September.
Each candidate took a different tone, starting with Garfunkel, whose 2011 bid to unseat Moccia fell about 800 votes short. Garfunkel talked about what he had learned in that first try, and said he has the fire and intensity to “win this fight.”
“It’s time to leave your problems at home and come together for the common good,” he told the sometimes fractious party. He said the Democratic Party stands for helping people “who don’t have a voice.”
Mangiacopra focused primarily on November and taking down Moccia. “People out there are tired,” he said. “They’re tired of it, the same approach by the same people. That’s the great opportunity we have in this election. We have the opportunity to change the landscape in the city in one election.”
Rilling said he thinks Norwalk “is poised for greatness. Norwalk used to be a destination. It can be a destination again.” He said the city can continue along with the status quo – “stagnation,” he called it – or it can “take the road to a Norwalk that can be great again.”
It was Miklave, speaking last, who turned up the intensity. Miklave, who has a lucrative law practice in New York City and has said many times he would be taking a huge financial hit to serve as mayor, has not been seen as a front-runner in the field, a position generally ascribed to Rilling and Mangiacopra. But, he said, voters should not be making their decision based on who they think, at this point, might have the best chance of knocking off the incumbent.
“If you vote your hopes, and you vote for what’s right,” he said, “no matter what happens, we as a party will win the day.”
See the full closing speeches in the video above.