Rilling has hit his signature goal, will be in Norwalk Democratic primary for mayor

Harry Rilling 010-20130430
Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling smiles at campaign coordinator David Murchie at a recent community event.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s former police chief was on top at the Democratic convention and he’s on top again – he is the first Norwalk mayoral candidate to get enough petition  signatures to be on the ballot for the September primary.

Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said Harry Rilling had 744 valid signatures as of 5 p.m. Thursday. The candidates need 775 verified signatures and Rilling’s campaign had promised to send over several more pages, Wells said.

“Rilling will most likely have enough within the hour, and almost certainly by morning,” Wells said.

At 11 p.m., the Rilling campaign announced that it had the 775 signatures it needs. 

The recent Democratic Party convention ended without an endorsed candidate for mayor when, after five consecutive identical votes, none of the four candidates had the 18 Democratic Town Committee votes needed to win. Rilling had 16 votes in those last five of eight ballots, while fellow canididate Vinny Mangiacopra, District D Chairman, had 15. Former Mayor Alex Knopp made a non-debatable motion to adjourn, and everyone but the Mangiacopra backers voted for it.

All four would-be mayors assumed they would be able to begin collecting signatures the next day, but were told they would have to wait a week, until July 24. They need to get the 775 verified signatures by 4 p.m. Aug. 7.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, eight days after beginning to get signatures, Mangiacopra had 435 verified signatures, with none still sitting in the registrars office pending review, Wells said. Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel had 230 verified signatures, plus two pages with 39 signatures pending verification, Wells said. Common Councilman Matt Miklave had 76 verified signatures, with none pending.

“As mentioned before, the numbers are almost, but not quite, official as we must check for duplicate names,” Wells said in an email. “However, the campaigns all send their circulators to different locations to gather signatures, so duplicates for the same campaign are infrequent. All the campaigns will also attempt to get a substantial cushion of extra signatures, even when they reach the magic number. These are usually available from petitions “in the field” but not yet turned in. Petitions from candidates not yet across the finish line get priority in processing, but we do not have much of a backlog. Andy’s two pages will be processed early tomorrow morning.”

The success rate of the circulators varies widely.

Rilling’s campaign submitted 919 signatures, of which 81 percent were verified by the registrars, Wells said. Mangiacopra’s campaign submitted 626 signatures, of which 69 percent were verified.

He said, “The ones that did not check out are either: not Democrats, or not registered, or not legible.”

The Rilling campaign will continue collect signatures at least through the coming weekend, the release said. Rilling mobilized approximately 65 volunteer petition circulators who had collected signatures from all corners of the city by Thursday evening, and the campaign estimates well over a hundred additional signatures will validated by the registrar in the coming weeks, the press release stated.

“Personal contact with voters is the best way to get the message out and to communicate our platform and our vision for Norwalk,” Rilling said in the release. “… As I went door-to-door, folks gave me water, some offered food, and some offered ideas and advice for the campaign. There really is an overwhelmingly positive feeling about my candidacy amongst the people of Norwalk.”


23 responses to “Rilling has hit his signature goal, will be in Norwalk Democratic primary for mayor”

  1. Tim T

    This is bad news to say the least as Rilling is the last thing Norwalk needs. He would even be worst than Moccia and that’s saying something.

  2. Norwalk Lifer

    Having signatures to run and having the votes are two different things, to be quite honest, I don’t think Mr. Rilling would be the right choice for Norwalk, in my view, his tenure as Chief of Police speaks volumes to his abilities or lack thereof, to move an organization forward. And clearly people in this town, and indeed South Norwalk, who live, work and play by the rules should think twice about Mr. Rilling’s intentions as mayor

    Norwalk Lifer

  3. NorwalkVoter

    And now the knives come out. You both are so predictable.

  4. Mike Mushak

    Congratulations Harry Rilling! Can’t wait to see the look on the faces of department heads next January when Mayor Rilling starts demanding accountability, adherenace to benchmarks, and public explanations when those benchmarks are not met.

    In other words, proper city management that Norwalk currently lacks under Moccia, leading to much waste of taxpayer resources through bad decisions and no accountability.

    Perhaps there is hope Norwalk will be a vibrant, healthy, and affordable city after all. After 7 years of Moccia, we are anything but. Just look around!

  5. EveT

    Congratulations, Mr. Rilling! The fact that you were able to get 65 volunteers to circulate your petitions is a good indication of your overall popularity. People respect and admire you, and you are by far the best known of the candidates. Name recognition combined with a solid positive reputation is a winning combination for sure.

    @NorwalkLifer and @TimT, why don’t you say which candidates you support and why? Your broken-record hateful anti-Rilling comments are really tiresome.

  6. Mary B.

    Harry Rilling is in it, to win it!
    He was out there pounding the pavement and personally knocking on doors.
    I was with him. People were happy to see him, when they opened their door to sign his petition. No one pushed the pen in their hand, or put words in their mouth. They spoke highly of Harry,gave him their support, and said he had their vote.

  7. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Eve T
    Tell us are you paid or volunteer political hacks/operatives for the Rilling campaign. I know you will deny this but we all know it’s true.

  8. rburnett

    Nice try Mr. Norwalk Ct – and who or what gives you the right to use that name? What a joke!!

    I can’t speak for Eve or Norwalk Voter but I can speak for myself. I am a long-time Norwalk resident who has know Harry for more than 25 years. I fully support him and he has my vote and the votes of many of my friends.

    No Mr. Norwalk Ct (what a joke) – I am not a political hack or operative but I truly believe you are. The guilty party always casts the first stone.

  9. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Great, Harry!
    We are sure it was our two signatures three days ago that put you over the top 🙂

    So, we are well on our way (at last) to having a mayor we can fully trust, who is what he says he is and who will give Norwalk that bit of class at the top that we need so badly.

  10. NorwalkVoter

    @Mr Norwalk Ct
    I am a Norwalk Voter and have been for many,years. Does that make me a hack? Just for clarification, I am not now, nor have I ever been from Bridgeport. How about you?

  11. EveT

    I don’t know who any of you are, but thank you @rburnett for your reply to @MrNorwalkCt. I am not a political hack in any sense of the word, and I am not getting paid by anyone. How about you?

    Do I support the Rilling campaign? Yes I do, just like dozens of other Norwalk voters and taxpayers who want to see improved leadership in City Hall. Obviously many hundreds of Norwalk voters think Harry is a worthy candidate, or they wouldn’t have signed his petitions.

  12. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Wow look at the childish name calling from Rillings political hack/operatives when called out. You know what they say the truth hurts.. Instead of calling people names why not attempt to show or at least make up why Rilling would be a good mayor as not one of you have provided any facts. I can tell you why he would be a disaster as all one needs to do is look at his disastrous time as chief. So lets see if Rillings political hacks /operatives can answer as an adult without the childish name calling.

  13. Allan

    Congratulations to the people in Norwalk that placed Harry Rilling in the position of being the Democratic candidate for their new Mayor !! I applaud them !!

  14. Mark Chapman

    Editor’s note: An earlier comment in this string that was originally published was deleted for violating our comment policy.

  15. Tim T

    FYI Rilling is NOT the Democratic candidate. Last I checked 700 names on a petition doesn’t get you elected.

  16. oldtimer

    At this time, there is NO Democratic candidate, but there are four who aspire to be. Harry Rilling is way ahead right now and is very likely to be the candidate. He has the education and experience to be well qualified for the job. Nobody is ever totally satisfied with the police, but the statistics show Harry did an excellent job as chief. Could he have done better ? No doubt, with the proper resources and a few more people. There should be a forensics lab in Fairfield County, serving, and supported by, several depts. just as there are regional task forces dealing with narcotics. It seems, as Chief, Harry was not allowed to go public with his requests, over the years Moccia was mayor, for more people or more resources. When a federal grant was available and one of Harry’s people applied for it, he got the grant and Moccia tried to take credit for it. A debate between them should draw a large crowd and reveal a lot Moccia does not want revealed.

  17. spanner

    Lets hear from Harry let him tell us what was found in the manhole on Washington street by a hazardous waste company hours before the big art fest yesterday.Lets hear Harry tell us the condition of the groundwater seeping into most businesses on WEashington st and why did a hazardous waste comp0any come with all the bekks and whistles to pump out and muck a manhole on WEashinton st next to Donavans.

    This information will be available by monday seems SENW was not telling the truth to the DEP and EPA and the CG if what we all saw is correct.

    This part of Norwalk where GE had a tank farm full of PCBs and the Norwalk company(200 feet away from the manhole) land was suppose to be cleaned before building (new buiolding).This is why so much cancer reseach cancer outfall and cancer cases are cropping up in Norwalk of younger people with cancer.

    How can Harry sleep at night knowing what other Norwalkers don’t know,the chemicals that are suspected in Oyster Park is yet another tragedy waiting to happen that and the cells buried in the MIDDLE of Norwalk Harbour most of which came from King Industries.The good loe boys club I think is killing the residents one at a time.

    By all rights the fire dept in Norwalk should have a full report of what was found in the manhole on washinton street bet they have no clue its standard procedure to keep taxpayers in the dark just like SNEW.

    God luck Harry you certainly didn’t climb to te top on your own.

    Deering is doing a huge job by the pastime club the work is not good the cement curb they made never settled right its poor workmanship where is the friggin city in all this we are paying for it now and again when it nees fixing right after its completion.

    Norwalk is a city full of thieves elected as politicians so if you want this to continue vote Harry.

    Harry why did the new lights replace the old ones on water street?So the landowner selling the boatyard din’t have to pay for the intersection when buuilding Booby was just appointed by the mayor what secrets did he forget?
    The city clearly isn’t getting the facts before this election and yes the other candidates realize something is wrong when the fire alarm system at the new police station didn’t work last fire a poor way of running a city NO just ask Harry waht it will be like with him.a Joke on all of us

  18. spanner

    I am a long-time Norwalk resident who has know Harry for more than 25 years

    Thats good now how much do you know about the city?
    Rilling tried three times to leave the city the job in RI was wriiten off when they found out Harry’s track record the reporter in RI was schooled very well when he wrote about Harry after that Harry was dropped from the contention.

    Norwalkers need to grow up becuase you know someone means nothing its what they know and did so far that counts and yes Harry has buried the city in layers of police red tape as the police line Norwalk with crime scene tape.

    Buy stock in tape if Harry is elected,don’t have to with Mo he has been buying it wholesale for the crime we have encountered.

    The city neds to wake up Rilling has done nothing but cover himself over the years in back stabbing and deciet just read the record how can people be so blind.

    Sat there for years and waited for Mo to speak first,what about those officers who killed themselves while Harry was the top dog yes more than one folks story has it at three so far last one was tragic but Harry had been gone for at least a week and yes the last death was not handled well at all.

    South Norwalk seems to have little impact on backing Harry smarter ones have learned over the years you can’t trust old boys no matter what.

    I’ll compare notes anytime this city has fallen and Harry wants others to climb over to get back to the top not on my watch.

  19. oldtimer

    Where did GE have a tank farm anywhere near Washington St.? I don’t dispute the fact that there was a problem and a cleanup. It will be interesting to know what was found and where it came from, but I know about all the tank farms in that area, and don’t recall a GE facility. There were a lot of petroleum product tanks on Water St and considerable, never identified leaks. There were cleanup operations that seemed to last for years, but GE and PCBs were never on the list.

  20. Piberman

    Reading the above comments is depressing. We ought to be happy to have candidates available with substantial support in order for us the voters to make our choices. Why demean Nancy’s with mean spirited and nasty comments about candidates ?

  21. Oldtimer

    Professor Berman
    Sure, the opinions expressed are depressing. I am sure some of your comments and mine depress some readers. Democracy is a messy business and some of us get carried away with unkind comments about politicians and issues that disagree with our opinions. Sometimes we say things we later regret, after learning more about an issue. Sometimes a discussion turns from serious comment on an issue to personal attack on a commenter we disagree with. Neither of us would prefer to live under a system where only comments somebody first approved would be accepted.

  22. Tim T

    Excellent post. It says it all. Without question America is the best county on the face of the earth and how we get there is by agreeing , disagreeing, and agreeing to disagree. I find it sad and “depressing” when some would like to stifle our free speech because we do not walk in lock step with them.

  23. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Spanner: It would help to understand your diatribe against Harry if you paid just a little attention to punctuation and syntax. Much of what you have written in the above two posts is very nearly unreadable. The few moans I could make out were unsuported allegations.

    It would also help if you gave some examples of all the bad things you allege that Harry SHOULD KNOW ABOUT and SHOULD HAVE CURED BY NOW when HE ISN’T EVEN MAYOR YET.(What was that about items to be found under manhole covers?)

    And just for the record, I’ve been a citizen of Norwalk for 53 years and have known Harry for 25 years. In all that time, I’ve never known more than one or two mayors who have been as qualified as he for the top job.

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