Norwalk Republican’s bid for State Rep ends due to COVID-19 economic impact

(Comer for CT)

The 2020 election is scheduled for Nov. 3.

NORWALK, Conn. — Irina Comer, with a “tremendously heavy heart,” announced Sunday that she is ending her campaign to be State Representative for the 142nd District. She is leaving Connecticut, she said.

Comer would have faced State Rep. Fred Wilms in a primary for the Republican endorsement. The winner would have sought to unseat Democratic State Rep. Lucy Dathan, who took the seat from Wilms in the 2018 election.

Comer blamed the current economic conditions for her sudden withdrawal. In a letter to supporters, she wrote:

“I was fully prepared for the difficulties of running a first-time campaign, for the challenge of a primary against a well-known opponent, and for an epic ideological battle in the general election.  But I was ultimately not prepared to be done in by the very forces that I sought to combat – those myriad forces that strangle so many businesses and residents out of Connecticut.
“My husband recently lost his job, and my business suffered tremendously from the bad economy and the coronavirus-related consequences for small businesses.  While we worked tremendously hard to find a way to support our family locally, the job market, the small business environment, and the effects of the coronavirus on all aspects of our lives left options for us only elsewhere.  Having built much of my campaign platform on seeking to remedy the many ways in which Connecticut has fallen short of the ideal of the American Dream, it is cruelly ironic that it was my husband’s loss of a good job here, and the cumulatively devastating effects on small businesses, that ultimately did me in.”


“I am sorry to hear that Ms Comer has been adversely impacted by this COVID-19 crisis,” Dathan wrote Monday. “This is a difficult time for so many people and I wish her the very best of luck going forward.  I always respect when others feel moved to engage in our democratic system as it invariably enhances the quality of debate and outcomes.  I am honored to be serving the people of Norwalk and New Canaan, especially in difficult times like this.”

“Family always comes first, and I wish the Comer family the very best during these difficult economic times,” Wilms said in a Facebook post. “I want to compliment Irina on her positive, issues-oriented campaign. It was a refreshing alternative to the political norm. I also want to acknowledge Irina’s extensive volunteer work on behalf of the Norwalk RTC, and the Lisa for Mayor campaign.”

Comer did not say where she is going.

Comer, in announcing her campaign in January, called herself a “political outsider” and “first generation immigrant” in addition to being “a professional businesswoman for nearly 20 years.” She was seeking to “defend the American dream in a state defined in recent years by increasing taxes, decreasing jobs, strengthening public unions, weakening private opportunities, negative migration” and “single-party groupthink.”

On Sunday, she said her political journey had introduced her to “wonderful and inspiring people,” who “left a remarkable impression on me and changed me permanently for the better.” It warms her heart that so many people “still yearn ardently for the core tenets of the dream which first drew me to America {from Russia}.  Americans of all political stripes, it would seem, still value freedom above all else.”

“Over the years, I have made Connecticut my home, getting married, raising a family, starting a business, building friendships, and embarking on this great journey with all of you,” she wrote. “Leaving now is a melancholy thought, and more difficult than when I first made my auspicious journey from Russia to America.”

Updated at 4:40 p.m. with comment from Lucy Dathan, and at 3 p.m. Tuesday with a comment from Fred Wilms.


David T McCarthy March 30, 2020 at 10:06 am

I admire her for having tried this and she seems extremely intelligent to have come to the conclusion to get out now. I recommend the same to the rest of you.

Isabelle Hargrove March 30, 2020 at 4:00 pm

It was a pleasure getting to know Irina and her beautiful family. Her intelligence and tremendous work ethic earned her the respect of all who got to know her. She will be missed and Norwalk just lost another wonderful family.

I wish her the best in her new endeavors.

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