Rilling endorsed by 3 Norwalk state legislators

Updated, 5:23 a.m. Sept. 4

NORWALK, Conn. – Harry Rilling has the chops to take on Mayor Richard Moccia and run the city of Norwalk, according to Norwalk’s Democratic legislators, who on Tuesday all but called upon the former police chief’s three opponents to drop out of the running before next week’s Democratic mayoral primary.

“Norwalk has four Democratic candidates for mayor,” state Sen. Bob Duff said as he began a press conference in front of City Hall one week before the Sept. 10 primary. “They all bring their unique perspective to the race and have elevated the conversation about what our city needs. I thank all of them for their hard work and efforts. However, it is now time to unite behind a candidate, one who has the best vision for Norwalk, one who has the grassroots support in our community and one who can lead us towards a better tomorrow. Isn’t that what we all want?”

Rilling, who served as Norwalk police chief for 17 years, is competing with District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, Common Councilman Matt Miklave and former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel for the nomination. Duff, state Rep. Chris Perone and state Rep. Bruce Morris made it clear that Rilling is their man, and Morris did not mince many words.

Norwalk state Rep. Bruce Morris endorses former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling to become Norwalk's next mayor Tuesday at City Hall.
Norwalk state Rep. Bruce Morris endorses former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling to become Norwalk’s next mayor Tuesday at City Hall.

“Harry is a collaborator, he’s a team builder, he is not an egotist,” Morris said. “Something you typically find around politics — a lot of people with big egos. My experience with Harry is he’s always about team building, finding out about how many people we can bring to the table.

While Mangiacopra, 31, cites his master’s degree in city administration as part of his qualifications to be mayor, Rilling has a master’s degree in public administration and all the other qualifications he needs, Morris said.

“You could have all those things and yet be lacking in character,” he said. “I think about Harry Rilling – Harry Rilling is a leader with character.”

Rilling never walked away from a problem, he said, led with grace and worked with people across the socio-economic spectrum, of all ages.

“That’s the kind of leader we need,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what (a person’s) party affiliation was, he showed us ‘I can lead with what is good for all of the residents.’”

Perone called Rilling “a true public servant in every definition of the word,” a reference to Rilling’s service in the Navy during the Vietnam War and his 41 years as a Norwalk police officer.

“So far in this campaign we’ve had very good candidates, but heading into this election we need to have a united voice, a shared vision,” he said. “… Harry Rilling has continued, and continues daily, to reach out to different groups in the city. His support is broad, it is deep and it is honest and it is genuine. These are fundamental qualities that I would like to see in the mayor of the city of Norwalk and it is why I give my 100 percent support for Harry Rilling.”

Rilling said words were inadequate to express his gratitude.

“There is a need for change,” he said. “When the three gentlemen behind me came out and endorsed me, I knew we were on the right track. I knew that our message was getting out.”

“We’re supporting Harry not only because of his record of public service, but what we think his goals are,” Perone said. With the primary a week away, the trio decided, “One strong statement of support made the point pretty clear,” he said.

Duff said they are focused on Rilling.

“We believe he’s the strongest candidate,” Duff said. “Somebody that can unite the city. He can win.”

Rilling said he hoped Norwalkers would take to heart the endorsement from “the people who are working on their behalf, day in day out, to try to get the things that Norwalk needs to make Norwalk better.

“When they say that my candidacy is the one that most fits the needs of Norwalk, I believe that it will have an impact,” he said. “I believe people will sit up and take notice.”

Original story:

NORWALK — Former Norwalk Chief of Police Harry Rilling picked up the endorsements of three key Democratic state lawmakers this afternoon in his bid defeat three fellow Dems for the right to take on Republican Mayor Richard Moccia this fall.

Sen. Bob Duff and state representatives Chris Perone (D-137) and Bruce Morris (D-140) each announced their support for Rilling at a press conference outside City Hall.

Rilling will be on the Sept. 10 primary ballot with former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, District D Democratic Chairman Vinnny Mangiacopra and Common Councilman Matt Miklave.

Check back later for a full story.


55 responses to “Rilling endorsed by 3 Norwalk state legislators”

  1. NorwalkLifer

    Can you smell desperation?

  2. D(ysfunctional)TC

    bye, bye Vinny. Try moving to New Britain. They might be fooled by you.

  3. loveforthecity

    Seems like these legislators are trying to hold on to their seats by supporting Rilling. Look at the folks in this picture. The good old boys network that are doing everything they can to hold on. Morris, Perone and Duff don’t do anything for Norwalk, spare us all.

  4. Otis

    What have these 3 guys done for Norwalk? In 2014 voters should boot them out of office.

    Maybe Duff can get a real job at news 12 doing weather and traffic reports. Loser.

  5. Hank Ryles

    i love this cast of characters in the background: bobby and mimi burgess, galen and stuart wells, bill collins, bill wrenn, crazy rod, ed camacho – not far behind were incognitos bruce kimmel, michael and mary geake, alex knopp and so on- – – – yes, add in bruce morris (who knows this is his last term) Chris Perone (obviosuly), and now Bob Duff. The status quo will always help protect its fellow status quo. Who’s next? Doug Hempstead? I can see it going that way too, just as easy. No loyalty, just self interest and the code that comes with preserving it for one another.

  6. Otis

    Just got to love these clowns at work. Looks like they are wearing matching outfits. Did Rilling pick the colors?

    What has these three clowns done for norwalk? Nothing.

    Bob Duff would make a good weatherman but as a senator he comes up a little short.

  7. Joe Espo


  8. Mike Mushak

    Wow, when the trolls or most likely just one bitter troll shows up here on NON, with new aliases never seen before, and mimic each other indicating an obsessive need , I think we can safely assume they are really bothered by this news!
    Congratulations to Harry Rilling for the endorsements, and ignore the childish schoolyard nastiness on display here from cowardly folks who hurdle insults from behind aliases that insults our much cherished freedom of speech. If they used their real names we might learn something from them, but about their own character and not the subjects of their posts. Oh, if we could only find out the IP address(es) wouldn’t that be fun!

  9. Mr Norwalk Ct

    You complain about childish school yard nastiness yet in the next breath you call others that have a different view than you do trolls. You may want to take a look in the mirror. Also what is it with your obsession of wanting to know the names of posters that have a different opinion than you do. I got to tell it’s getting old real fast. Did you ever stop and think that most of Norwalk wants nothing to do with Rilling and had hoped that he would just go away when he finally retired . Some just don’t know when it’s time to leave.

  10. M. Murray’s

    I like how you think it is desperation. Three men who have solidly won their elections for years are suddenly desperate and supporting Rilling is an attempt to save their careers? While I do not agree with the Democrats on many issues, and have disagreed with these politicians in the past on certain issues, there is no doubt that they have strong support in their districts. This type of unity is a strong indicator who they think has the best chance to upend a long sitting Republican. This was a serious blow to the other Democratic candidates.

  11. Otis

    Harry Rilling accepted 3 contracts from Moccia. In 2011 called him a great boss. His campaign is backed by Alex Knopp and other washed up pols.

    This guys won general elections in strong democratic districts. In a primary all three could lose. What have they done for Norwalk.

    Fact. All three of these lazy and apathetic pols have hurt
    Norwalk taxpayers. Duff voted against paid sick days and is known for sucking up to republicans.

    His tweets must be an attempt to win a job as a weatherman or traffic reporter at news 12. Just pathetic!

  12. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Yes, Hank Ryles, SELF-INTEREST is what we ALL want–that our interests as citizens of Norwalk will be best supported and furthered by a man who: “… is a collaborator, he’s a team builder, he is not an egotist,” and “…is always about team building, finding out about how many people we can bring to the table” and “…has a master’s degree in public administration and all the other qualifications he needs” and during his many years in public service “… never walked away from a problem, … led with grace and worked with people across the socio-economic spectrum, of all ages.” and has shown us he “… can lead with what is good for all of the residents” and he “…has continued, and continues daily, to reach out to different groups in the city” and “he has the stature of a leader. Stature is important” and finally, the support Harry Rilling has from thinking citizens is, ” broad, it is deep and it is honest and it is genuine”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  13. Don’t Panic

    The fact remains that Moccia is hoping to run against Mr. Rilling. If Mr. Rilling wins the primary, Moccia will win the general.

  14. Daisy

    That’s right Don’t Panic. You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. I have a lot of respect for Bob Duff and Chris Perone. But Bruce Morris? The man who somehow managed to get and hang on to a job with the BOE that he didn’t have even CLOSE to the educational requirements required. AND he was such a trouble-maker, always looking with a racial chip on his shoulder.

  15. Daisy

    Morris also had a “deal” with Corda that if he won the election back in 2007, he could take all the time he needed away from his job to be in Hartford. Just put in the hours. Sure – be the Human Relations Officer during the hours when none of the humans are in the schools! of course Corda didn’t offer Rick McQuaid the same “deal” – he’d have had to leave his job if he’d won.

  16. bill

    Mangiacopra must be pissed, he has all of his trolls out today on NON. Here’s a hint, it’s Vinny using aliases.

  17. spanner

    This simply delivers the last blows to the Democratic party in Norwalk.These three men have displayed poor performances over the years playing politics while honest hard working sons of bitches lose everyting they own.Where these three have fortified homes with alarms and not a care in the world and never listen to anyone who has tried in the past to spell it out and ride out the crime wave with the attitude all is well have turned another chapter in Norwalk going against most informed voters.This will help us all now decide who we send to the State House its obvious by what we have in Washington and the inability to decide if our president and other Republicans are right on Syria Ct Democrats are having a problem with doing whats right coming from Norwalk.

    Norwalkers are desperate the city has declined the quality of life has left the city and we have the three wise men forgetting why they were elected and playing a dangerous game with our city.Three men who have played the city using our lives as markers.Lets look at the full picture Duff Perone and Morris have no desire to be our reps anymore. No one shoots their foot mouth and residents in the back and continues in politics.

    I always thought pure evil lives on the streets we now see they live in homes among us.Thanks boys makes it easier to vote next time don’t quit your day jobs you will need them.I don’t care who wins this race in fact if anything it will seal the deal for Moccia now that the laundry list and shortfalls for these three idiots can be opened up.If your not known in Norwalk and want to see how politics run ride the elavator in city hall where the three ride it all the time with our markers.Its a game to them and not for us.

  18. Bruce Kimmel

    Mr. Ryles. I am not sure what you meant to imply by referring to me as “incognito,” but I was NOT as the press conference. I am on the Republican ticket and I support everyone on that ticket. Bruce Kimmel

  19. spanner

    Its a good thing Newport RI was smart enough not to even consider Rilling for the job.Those who live in Norwalk with property in Newport were there at city hall how ironic.

    Three men who have solidly won their elections for years are suddenly desperate and supporting Rilling is an attempt to save their careers? This is what happens when you vote for the party and not the candidate now lets see if that continues.

    childish schoolyard nastiness,sounds like Moccias handbook and each one of these three wisemen have recieved a signed copy from Dick himself.

  20. Fed up

    Does anyone really believe in Morris? Here’s a guy who stood up there with Democratic party version of the WWE and played pied piper – saver of the day! yet when you email or call him he does not respond. That I know from trying to reach him multiple times without ever the courtesy of a return call or email. Anyone know: What exactly does he do?

  21. Norwalk Dinosaur

    I love how all the Rilling supporters here are attacking Mr. Mangiacopra. As if Andy Garfunkel and Matt Miklave are not even in the race?!

    Like him or not, Mangiacopra has Rilling running scared. Bob Duff is not a courageous politician. If he is out endorsing people days befor a Primary it is because a campaign came begging for him to do it.

    Rilling may or may not win on Tuesday, but all of this stinks of a very concerned campaign.

    Also, ya-gotta-love former POLICE CHIEF, model citizen, Harry Rilling asking Mr. Shoot-Em-Up-Vigilante-Burgess to stand behind him.

    Check out this fun-times archive dive of the day:


  22. spanner

    Lockdown of Cranbeery school shots fired reported by the school,bet our three reps read about it here obvously reading the fallout instead of solving an on going problem in Norwalk.Shame on them its not like some of them havn’t been thru a scare before with their own kids where shots have been confirmed near a school.Politicians first men last.

  23. ScopeonNorwalk

    Wow, these three have time to come out and endorse a candidate but not one has the time or guts to speak out against the nonsense going on at NEON. Ok, priorities people. If this is these guys top priority right now they can get out in 2014.

  24. Norwalk Dinosaur

    @ScopeonNorwalk, The 3 Blind Reps are all best buds with Joe Mann, former CEO and main culprit behind NEON fiasco. No surprise there!

  25. Norwalk Dinosaur

    Not to mention Sen. Duff was actually on the Board of NEON. Bet he doesn’t want us voters figuring that one out…


  26. Mr. Ludlow

    Love him or hate him, Bob Duff gets re-elected by huge margins (o.k., so beating Angry “No Show” Jack isn’t a stretch). We’ll see if his endorsement means anything.
    The only endorsement that really means anything is the one the voters give on Election Day. But, having Bobby Duff at a campaign event can’t hurt.
    I don’t think any one thinks Duff, Perone and Morris are supporting Rilling to save their careers. They’re supporting Rilling to end the careers of Mangiocopra, Pena and Watts- of course those 3 are doing a pretty good job of that on their own.

  27. Otis

    These 3 do nothing reps have hurt Norwalk. Time for a change in 2014. Norwalk families deserve better.

    900 bucks per student from the state and all we have is traffic and weather reports. Duff get a real job working for News 12 and stop playing senator. Total loser.

  28. bill

    By replacing Duff, Perone, and Morris with Mangiacopra, Pena, and Watts, we get more of the same, just less experience and gravitas. As much as I hate these 3 do nothing reps, the alternative with Mangiacopra, Pena, and Watts scares me.

  29. SJ

    Duff, Perone and Morris have underfunded Norwalk for about 10 years, now. How many families have to move out of Norwalk before these guys act?

    Duff did vote against paid sick days for working families and has failed to deliver for our city.

    Morris is overpaid, not qualified for his job and should have been fired for this speech he made in 2007. Norwalk’s Human Relations Officer?

    Watch the video below.


  30. D(ysfunctional)TC

    @SJ. Mandatory sick days are one reason CT economy is circling the drain with companies leaving for less draconian states. I don’t agree with Duff on many things, but at least he has a clue about what small businesses need. Andy is a good person, but isolating the lunatic fringe of Mangiacopra and the full of hot air Miklave campaigns is a win for all of Norwalk regardless of your political affiliation.

  31. SJ


    We can agree to disagree on paid sick days. However, one thing is clear these 3 reps do not work for the best interest of our city. After watching the above video- I would not want my children to interact with Mr. Morris.

    These “3 do nothing reps” are sleep at the switch and have hurt Norwalk families. Everyone in the city knows we are short changed by the state and these clowns have given up. Rilling is doubling down with these guys. No thanks.

    Miklave is a smart councilman and I like his platform but he supports the status quo in Hartford too. I could care less about sweeping out the DTC OR RTC. I care about funding for our kids schools which these 3 do nothing reps have failed to deliver.

    Morris should not be on the city’s payroll and the new BOE should ask him to leave.

  32. D(ysfunctional)TC

    @SJ. You may have a point about Morris, but trust me an effective 2% tax on payroll is what the sick time amounts to and it has had a devastating effect on our economy. Payroll is typically the biggest expense item for any company. You must have missed the headline about CT having the only shrinking economy in the Union. You flat out do not understand business, if you don’t understand how this impacts business decisions.

  33. Don’t Panic

    Actually @SJ, this is why you should care. This endorsement party was supposed to seal it for Mr. Rilling, the “establishment” choice. 30 some odd comments and virtually none are about the candidate. Instead, the sniping at our Reps is rampant.
    As long as the party machine is factionalized, and does not represent the will of the democratic body of voters, these guys are going it alone.
    As far as I can tell, the only candidate who has offered up a plan to PAY for the things Norwalkers need and are concerned about is Mr. Miklave.

  34. spanner

    At 12:12 p.m., state Sen. Bob Duff tweeted: “Just spoke to the mayor. Everything is OK at Cranbury School. Someone heard something alarming at Cranbury Park. Police have not been able to corroborate info.”

    The lockdown was lifted when?

    What concerns me is the timelines the media is giving us on what happened.I’m not comfortable with these guys in charge of safety of my children.This is not the kind of bandwagon you jump on and be wrong its disgusting politics.

    Bob nothing is “OK”

  35. rburnett

    Guess what? Bob Duff had to tweet Moccia because Moccia never showed up at Cranbury School!!! NICE!!! Maybe the noise the teacher heard was Vinny taking pictures of more school children for his next mailer. Wonder if using a classroom in a public school is legal. Wonder if Vinny got a signed consent from all the parents before using their pictures in a political ad.

  36. SJ

    D(ysfuntional) TC,

    I support paid sick days and Bob Duff sided with big business. Duff is totally out of touch with working men and women. Rilling, Duff, Perone and Morris live off the taxpayers- so birds of a feather. What are we getting for the money? Nothing.

    Why should the BOE employ a man with extreme view points? Morris is the wrong man for this job and he should be let go.

    How long do our kids have to wait before we get real leadership in Hartford? If Rilling is betting on these 3 clowns we are all in a lot of trouble. I know these guys didn’t like party leaders coming to Hartford to check on them. However, after 10 years of failed leadership- I am glad someone is at least considering kicking them out of office.

    Dont Panic,

    Who cares about the DTC or RTC game of inside baseball? Mr. Miklave openly supports the three reps who are hurting this city. The problem for your candidate is that they do not support him. In fact they have sided with Rilling. Why? Maybe, Rilling will allow them to make excuses and raise taxes beyond control.

    Bring on 2014!

  37. LWitherspoon

    The ones hurting our city are Common Councilmen like David Watts, who puts his own self-interest ahead of the interests of his party and of all Norwalk taxpayers.
    Watts has created a lot of conflict on the Common Council, but what has he achieved by way of results? Now he wants a promotion to the state legislature because, as he so often reminds us, he doesn’t get paid for being a Councilman. But what has he accomplished as a Councilman that merits a promotion to state representative?
    I suspect that Watts’s exploratory committee is not a serious effort. He is collecting the funds for some other purpose than moving into Democratic Rep. Chris Perone’s district to challenge him in a primary. Perhaps the idea is to stay in the district where he currently lives and challenge Bruce Morris with a primary, but Watts isn’t willing to admit that yet. I’m not a fan of Bruce Morris after the hypocrisy that he showed in the wake of the Brawl at City Hall, but David Watts as our state rep would be a whole lot worse.

  38. Tim T

    Can Rilling or Moccia make themselves useful and come pick up my garbage as the GREAT OUTSOURCING screwed up again…830pm and still in front of the house..

    Editor’s note: Not sure Rilling would come out, as he is on record as being against the outsourcing. But we would like to know what neighborhood you are in so we can maybe get pictures and follow up with a story. Don’t need your address, just the street. And if you prefer, you could email it to [email protected]

  39. YourDaddy

    Lemmings! What? Were Duff and Perone busy when Bruce Morris lead the “unscripted” press conference sweeping things under the rug after DTC Chair Amanda Brown beat up the elderly in front of City Hall? No, Bob Duff, “now” is not the time to jump on the perceived frontrunner’s bandwagon, less than a week before the Democrats will decide who the want as their candidate at the ballot box. Had you done it earlier, that would have shown some real commitment to the candidate of choice. This late endorsement is nothing more than falling in line with the political hacks – yet again.

  40. Piberman

    Will former Chief Rilling follow the tax and spend policies advocated by our illustrious State legislators offering endorsement. Some words about tax hikes under a Rilling administration might comfort those concerned about importing Hartford Democrat fiscal policies into Norwalk. How high will our taxes rise under a Rilling administration ? More or less than under Mayor Moccia ?

  41. Otis

    Duff, Perone and Morris backed Rilling the whole time and everyone in town knew except the other campaigns. I guess they were kind of slick about it.

    Politics is a dirty game and the other mayoral candidates were played for fools.

  42. RU4REEL

    Prediction: Dems unite behind Harry and they win in November.

  43. Tim T

    Prediction: Harry comes in 3rd on Sept 10.
    The true voters are not fooled by his smoke and mirrors and his political operatives.

  44. SJ


    Why do you think Harry can beat Moccia?

    @LWitherspoon I have no clue what you are talking about. Who do you support for Mayor and why?

  45. Joe Espo

    Hey Mayor: want some more popcorn?

  46. RU4REEL

    @SJ Because he has the support of more residents than any other candidate (citywide) and if Moccia throws dirt so can Rilling. Why do you think anyone else can beat Moccia?

  47. SJ


    I think Andy can beat Moccia. Why? Andy worked very hard for the Norwalk Democratic Party and that should count for something. Rilling is doubling down with those “3 do nothing reps” and that is bad for Norwalk.

  48. Don’t Panic

    Newsflash. Some of us pesky voters don’t want a candidate who will will the mud-slinging war with Mr. Moccia. We want someone who will do the job he is elected to do and do it well, without cutting backroom deals or nepotism or pandering.

  49. Norwalk Spectator

    @Otis – “Duff voted against paid sick days and is known for sucking up to republicans.”
    Hmmmm, “sucking up to Republicans”.
    I thought when Bob was elected, he was supposed to represent ALL of Norwalk, not just the Norwalk Democrats. It’s called working together for a common cause, in this case, Norwalk. That would include the unaffiliated Norwalk residents and the Independent Norwalk residents along with the Republicans. And there’s even some Libertarian Norwalk residents and probably some who I’ve forgotten or don’t know about.
    You might want to think long and hard about why Michael Geake and Bruce Kimmel no longer caucus with the Democrats. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they what’s best for the Norwalk Democratic Town Council. That means they have worthwhile discussions and conversations with Republicans. To the best of my knowledge, both men still adhere to their declared Democratic principals, but realize that working together with those of a different viewpoint actually accomplishes things for the City.
    It’s the same principle on the State level. I have no qualms with Bob working across party lines. To me, a non-Democrat, it means he actually cares about Norwalk, and not just the DTC.

  50. Norwalk Spectator

    Whoops! I wish there was an edit button on this blog.

    Let me clarify my statement “it’s because they what’s best for the Norwalk Democratic Town Council.” I intended to say that the Norwalk Democrats want what’s best for the Norwalk Democratic Town Council.”

  51. Otis

    @Norwalk Spectator,

    Bob Duff sold out to big business and voted against the working poor. Democrat or Republican he sides with Corporations over people.

    Duff get a real job!

  52. Norwalk Spectator


    And exactly whom do the working poor work for??? There are only two options – self employment, or working for employer. And let’s talk about employers.
    Last I heard, the largest employer in the City was the Norwalk Public Schools. The other employers don’t have the same numbers unless something has drastically changed in the last two years.
    And, as you have probably heard, many businesses are cutting back their employees’ hours because of the mandatory health care requirements. That includes the large corporations.

  53. RU4REEL

    Okay SJ it should count for something but it doesn’t work that way.
    Because he did good for the Dems how will that help him beat moccia?
    I too prefer no mudslinging Panic, what I’m saying is that if there is mud thrown moccia will lose that battle with Rilling and you know what I mean if you have been around Norwalk as long as I have.
    Rilling has the best chance of beating moccia.
    I will leave it at that.

  54. Joe Espo

    Otis: working poor? What’s that? … a Working Families talking point? True, you can be poor if you work… but you’ll do better not working. Better than even being a teacher.


  55. Norwalk Dinosaur

    @Joe Espo, your source is ridiculous.

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