Opinion: Everybody loves a (third) party

Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Treasurer Peter Thor, right, nominates former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling for mayor at the July convention.
Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Treasurer Peter Thor, right, nominates former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling for mayor at the July convention.

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s party time in Norwalk.

No, not that kind of party, although the Oyster Festival is right around the corner.

As reported on The Hour’s website Thursday night, a third political party entered the mayoral fray when Democratic Town Committee member Peter Thor filed papers to run as a candidate for the Working Families Party.

Or did he?

The Hour quoted Town Clerk Rick McQuaid as saying that, as a minority party, the Working Families Party has until Sept. 4 to nominate a candidate, and the party can switch candidates after the filing. Thor said, according to The Hour, that he was serving as a placeholder and that the party would likely nominate someone for real after the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.

OK, so this isn’t like a brand new party has sprung up to challenge the establishment. The WFP has a history of backing Democrats, and endorsed Andy Garfunkel in his 2011 bid to unseat Mayor Richard Moccia.

But will the party endorse this year’s Democratic nominee? This is where the party game starts.

Thor nominated former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling for mayor at the DTC nominating convention in July. That would seem to indicate the WFP might back Rilling and give him a second line if he is the nominee.

What if he’s not?

One Democratic Party insider said the WFP would “never” back Matt Miklave, the common councilman who is one of the four Democrats on the ballot Sept. 10.

But what of Vinny Mangiacopra, who has assembled an impressive campaign war chest and is, along with Rilling, regarded as a frontrunner for the nomination?

Miklave, Mangiacopra and Rilling have all said they would support whoever wins the primary. But Garfunkel equivocated, saying “I would like to, but that remains to be seen.”

Speculation is a time-honored tradition when it comes to politics. It’s what fills much of the broadcast time for several cable networks. Most of the time, the speculation is off base. This may well turn out to be just another case of wild speculation.

But isn’t it fun?

So will the WFP back another Garfunkel run if it isn’t happy with the Democratic nominee? Or is Thor a placeholder for Rilling should the ex-chief come up short? After listening to the four Democrats, has the WFP decided to find an alternative? Has the party decided to give Moccia one more turn? Or is it all simply a technical maneuver to save a ballot spot for whoever the Dems pick?

Let us know what you think in the comment section.



9 responses to “Opinion: Everybody loves a (third) party”

  1. Don’t Panic

    WFP has already closed its endorsement review period. Any candidate questionnaires have already been submitted. This suggests that they have an endorsement in mind and want to avoid making it before the primary.

  2. YourDaddy

    Here we go – anonymous “Democratic party insider?” Info from an anonymous Working Families party insider may have some validity, but considering the disorganized and fractured state of the Democratic party, how can you tell if someone is an insider or not?

  3. M Allen

    Which party was it whining about back room deals? DTC member sets up backup/side plan for a different party and its just business as usual. Fascinating. The hypocrisy is strong with this bunch.

  4. RU4REEL

    If Andy doesn’t win will he back Moccia?

  5. NorwalkLifer

    Peter Thor supports Harry Rilling. This “technical maneuver” is just a way to hedge their bets if Harry loses primary.

  6. YourDaddy

    The only candidate with a relationship with Moccia is Rilling. Would it surprise anyone if Moccia/Rilling were playing Peter Thor and the other Democrats who are supporting Rilling?

  7. Two Sense

    Rilling was a good manager. He may have made mistakes, he is human but he did listen to the community and endeavoured to correct his errors. This guy is the only one that really has a good handle on our community,our challenges,our strengths, knows and has experince on how to manage a multi million dollar budget.

    This is the guy that dares to show his face in our housing complexes, and he doesn’t get shot at? And he was the top cop. Why doesn’t he get heat from the people in sono? After all not many can say they haven’t had contact with NPD over the years for one reason or another. And certainly there have been grievance’s against the NPD. Why is the man popular with the very people he served and yes, arrested some for most of his life? Rilling took a lot of heat over the violence we have seen, this poster is included in the ones that gave him heat, but he (did) listen and he did act. He listened to the people he served and he is listening now to the people he may possibly serve again.

    He may have appeared to be close to the current chief administrator but did anyone ever see Rilling playing basketball for charity with Moccia. Playing a few rounds on the green? No. And if you look at the body language you can see Rilling always looked very uncomfortable around his former boss at all press briefings and photo ops. Much of the critique hurled at Rilling as Police Chief in the blogs was not based on substance. Just folks venting. People get frightened and angry and he was the guy you took it out on. And have to admit, Rilling took it like a champ.

    He has been there every summer letting anyone take pot shots at him in the dunk tank. He does have a sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too serious. He understands peoples frustrations, peoples challenges and he does appear to genuinely care about the little people not just the ones that bankroll campaigns.

    It’s not just about who is the candidate that can beat the incumbent, which all considered, he is the only one with a real chance, its also about the candidate that is best for Norwalk. The guy who really understands the challenges we have, the guy we all know and yes, we do trust.

    To Harry, you sure you want this mess? Could take it easy and run a small dept somewhere, where only domestic and dog barking calls have to be dealt with. – Yeah, never mind, couldnt do that myself. Thanks for sticking around. It is home for better or worse and yes we can do better but you know that.

    Thats why you stood up. People one thing about Rilling, he is a straight shooter. And he is reachable and not just to the big money boys club, you and I can reach him and he does listen. All things, incumbent power and the challenges considered and just for not giving up on us he gets my vote. He doesnt have to take this on. Its home,he choose to remain and try to make it better, not move to Florida and walk from this, this, well, oftentimes it looks like romper room in those chambers. Oops, giving my age away.

    But he stood up and he didn’t just stand up for some egotistical adventure,or for money, he stood up because he cares and believes he can make a difference.

    Harry, dont screw it up in the debate.. No reason to feel intimidated any longer. Let it all hang out. And when you do clinch it, which you will, if you dont screw up and let fear grab hold, when you do take that seat, make a difference, make a real difference for all of us Norwalkers, north, south, east and west. Who has the odds on Harry?

  8. D(ysfunctional)TC

    Why be so clever with this WFP nonsense and fully come out as the Communist USA party since you work so closely with them on elections across the country?

  9. Hobbes the Calvinist

    It’s not that complicated- The Working Families Party has to nominate somebody but doesn’t want to split the vote with the Dems by nominating someone who doesn’t become the Dem nominee. So it can’t nominate anyone until the Dem. primary.
    Thor is an honorable guy who will hold the seat for the nominee.
    It’s just more politics as usual.

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