Norwalk political notes: Election Night eruption

Republicans John Flynn, left, and John Levin enjoy Election Night camaraderie downstairs Nov. 8 at Station House in East Norwalk. Upstairs, before this photo was taken, Levin took verbal abuse.

Norwalk political notes for you:

  • An angry outburst: blaming a blue beard
  • Dunn is “only an Independent”
  • Republicans move to the American Legion

‘Moment of frustration’

Then-Common Council candidate Bryan Meek during a League of Women Voters event, Oct. 26 at Congregation Beth El.

Norwalk Republicans gathered in the Station House restaurant on Election Night, and while the downstairs scene was crowded and cordial as results trickled in, upstairs one candidate reportedly blew his stack at another candidate.

Bryan Meek yelled multiple obscenities at John Levin, including “f— you” and “asshole,” in the presence of children, according to a witness. Meek also vividly described how he’d rip out Levin’s beard.

“The disturbance was loud and disruptive to those on the upper level and caused quite the stir amongst members later on the floor below who recounted the incident,” the witness said.

Levin, whose signature beard is blue and beaded, declined to comment.

Levin ran for Council at Large; Meek ran for a District D Council seat. Both fell short in the Democratic rout.

On Wednesday, Meek called the witness account “half accurate.” He wrote:

“Facts are many people told me Rs could not be taken seriously given {Levin’s} face on his signs, some of which were put on blighted properties in significant tax arrears.

A John Levin campaign sign.

“Then, his wife’s endorsement of my opponent for his position on the environment. Last I checked my opponent lives alone in a house larger than mine (where 5 people live in mine) that was on a previously wooded lot that was clear cut for the purpose. I don’t fault my opponent for having a nice home nor do I fault the actions of a spouse. However, it would have been nice for John to support me somewhere seeing I supported his promotion to the RTC publicly in a meeting prior to this moment of frustration on my part.”

Levin’s wife is a Democratic Town Committee member.

Meek continued:

“I’m over it. I have better things to do with my free time like work more so I can afford the taxmageddon that is coming thanks to current wasteful spending and poor planning policies. As terrible as it is for the city, the current self-congratulatory bunch can own what is coming. Early indicators of the mess will be in the form of the next revaluation and the necessary shift of tax burden to homeowners due to commercial real estate not keeping pace, the actual costs of the new NHS when the bids start rolling in, the school budget request, and the departmental capital budget requests, which will need to be denied for the most part thanks to NHS.

“I don’t fault the current leadership for only highlighting what’s good, who wouldn’t. And there are a lot of good things. But a lot of foolish spending and continued overdevelopment is going to catch up with us. And God forbid we have an average or below average rainfall this year and we are all going to see the damage that has been done. I don’t think most people realize this but I’m told we only had about 10 weeks of water left during the last drought and that was with 5000+ fewer people. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.”

“There is no defending what happened,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms said Saturday. “I spoke with Bryan afterwards about this. I know there were other conversations as well.”

He added, “We were happy to have John Levin on our ticket for Common Council. He put his heart into the campaign, and offered constructive solutions to make Norwalk a better place.”

Dunn is an “I,” not an “I/R”

Common Council member Heather Dunn (I-District D) received a Republican cross-endorsement in her successful bid for election. Asked Friday how she’d like to be identified, Dunn said she is “only an Independent and should be referred to that way.”

Dunn came in second in the four-way race for two seats, beating incumbent Republican Bryan Meek, who finished fourth. A recount secured her victory over Democratic candidate Jan Degenshein.

  • Doug Sutton, Democrat, 1,984 votes (winner)
  • Heather Dunn, 1,921 votes (winner)
    • 1,725 votes on the Republican line
    • 192 votes on the Independent line
    • Four unknown votes
  • Jan Degenshein, Democrat, 1,910
  • Bryan Meek, 1,897 votes
    • 1,715 votes on the Republican line
    • 172 votes on the Independent line
    • 10 unknown votes

“I am extremely honored that the Republicans in D endorsed me regardless of my unwillingness to ever become an R,” Dunn wrote. “I fully intend to listen to and seek out their opinions and concerns… and look forward to bringing them into the dialogue on Norwalk issues.”

“She’s the first Independent to be elected in a few decades and will be an excellent advocate for residents, promoting city management and quality of life issues,” said Lisa Brinton, Chair of the Independent Party Norwalk Town Committee.

Meek, a former Board of Education member, was appointed to the seat last year by District D Republicans, replacing Tom Keegan, who retired.

Sutton wasn’t on the Democratic ticket originally. Democrats endorsed Angela Giraldo in July; Sutton, a former Council member, was substituted.

Republicans put Norwalk Inn in rearview mirror

Not too long ago, the Norwalk Inn was a bastion for Norwalk Republicans. Republican Town Committee events were always held there.

Then, in 2017-2018, Norwalk Democrats used it for events, including the 2018 Election Night festivities.

Since then, it’s been a Republican stronghold again, but that’s changed. Meetings will be held in the American Legion.

“The Inn just increased their monthly charge to $300. Meanwhile the Legion is only $50 per month. Their upstairs space is large enough for our meeting while their downstairs facility is nice for socializing,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms said. “We will see how it goes.”


6 responses to “Norwalk political notes: Election Night eruption”

  1. Skip Hagerty

    The Republicans were smart in having John run for office. He is a candidate that potentially appeals to a new segment of the electorate. I am not really sure what segment that may be but it’s valiant effort nonetheless.

  2. DIana Paladino

    Wow, it’s truly eye-opening to see that people openly admit that they would judge people based on their appearances. This revelation raises serious questions about the entitlement and narrow-mindedness that seem to be at the core of such attitudes.
    It’s disheartening to think that individuals prioritize superficial factors over a person’s integrity, character, and intelligence when making important decisions such as voting. The idea that some individuals choose candidates based on a ‘suit and tie’ image rather than delving into their qualifications and understanding of the inner workings of the city is concerning, to say the least.

  3. Bryan Meek

    I didn’t realize children were in the bar area past bedtime on a school night. I’m sure they’ve heard worse on the ballfields. In 20 years of participating I never recall people laughing it up in the vote counting area. But I guess it’s all a big joke.

  4. John Levin

    Thanks Florida reader of NancyOnNorwalk for letting me know about today’s article. I was unaware until now that my campaign’s lawn sign was a problem for anyone. It was the first time that I had run for elected office, so I thought there could be room to experiment a little. Frankly, I was proud of it, but I was especially proud of the verso side, which wasn’t included in this article. If you missed it, it was text only, and said:
    * Honesty and Integrity
    * Transparency in Government
    * Respects Others

    If I ever run for office again, I will probably stick with those.

  5. Paul Cantor

    My wife and I put a vote for John Levin sign up in front of our property and if he runs again we’ll do it again.

  6. Ana Tabachneck

    John is the first R I’ve voted for, and first person I’ve felt strongly enough about to put out a lawn sign. Saving it for his next run, btw. He had the most thoughtful answers of any candidate in all the written Q and A. All parties could use some more respect, integrity, transparency, and honesty. This article highlights a specific area for growth, and the positive change in our slate of representatives this year.

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