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Norwalk Democrats make it three in a row, winning across the board

Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling celebrates Tuesday in the Hilton Garden Inn, his wife Lucia at his side.

The 2021 Election was today, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

NORWALK — Norwalk Democrats have again slaughtered their competition in a municipal election.

Incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling won reelection Tuesday with more than 63% of the vote, according to preliminary results. In a repeat of the two previous municipal elections, Rilling will again have a 14 to one Democratic majority Common Council; all four available Board of Education seats went to Democrats.

Tom Keegan will again be the lone Republican on the Common Council. Independents for Norwalk had only one victor: Andy Meyerson handily beat Democrat Priscilla Feral to become a Sixth Taxing District Commissioner.

Video by Harold F. Cobin at end of story

Former Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton, who founded Independents for Norwalk this year, came in last in her bid for a Council at Large seat.

“It looks like Norwalk Democrats have a lot to celebrate tonight,” State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said to the group gathered in the Hilton Garden Inn. “… Norwalk is a Democratic city.”

Rilling, caught up in the celebratory mood as victorious Democrats posed for a group photo, drew resounding laughter when he quipped, “One party rule is OK when it’s us.”

The preliminary results, according to Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells:

Mayor

  • Harry Rilling, D 9006 (8,406 on the Democratic line, 374 Working Families Party and 223 “unknown”)
  • Jonathan Riddle, R 5,152

Town Clerk

  • Rick McQuaid, R (8,208 on the Democratic line, 5,189 on the Republican line, 20 “unknown”)

Board of Education at large

  • Kara Baekey, D 7,359 (6,657 on the Democratic line, 646 Working Families Party and 56 “unknown”)
  • Sheri McCready Brown, D 7215 (6,528 on the Democratic line, 610 Working Families Party and 77 “unknown”)
  • Colin Hosten, D 7,173 (6,500 on the Democratic line, 628 Working Families Party and 45 “unknown”)
  • Janine Randolph, D 7,024 (6,345 on the Democratic line, 628 Working Families Party and 51 “unknown”)
  • Jody Sattler, I 4,212
  • Alex Kemeny, I 4,190
  • Katherine (Price) Snedaker, I 3,982
  • Shirley Mosby, I 3,815

Common Council at large

  • Greg Burnett, D 8,217 (7,269 on the Democratic line, 894 Working Families Party and eight “unknown”)
  • Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, D 8,053 (7,152 on the Democratic line, 853 Working Families Party and 48 “unknown”)
  • Barbara Smyth, D 7,725 (7,067 on the Democratic line, 580 Working Families Party and 78 “unknown”)
  • Josh Goldstein, D 7,503 (6,914 on the Democratic line, 539 Working Families Party and 50 “unknown”)
  • Dominique Johnson, D 7,063 (6,570 on the Democratic line, 440 Working Families Party and 53 “unknown”)
  • Richard Bonenfant, R 5,970
  • Matthew Merluzzi, R 5,151
  • Enrique Santiago, R 4,387
  • Lisa Brinton, I 3,698

 

Council District A

  • David Heuvelman, D 1,399 (1,241 on the Democratic line, 148 Working Families Party and 10 “unknown”)
  • Nicol Ayers, D 1,298
  • Luis Estrella, R 749
  • Chris Morales, I 354

Council District B

  • Darlene Young, D 996 (879 on the Democratic line, 84 Working Families Party and three “unknown”)
  • Diana Révolus, D 880 (796 on the Democratic line, 73 Working Families Party and 11 “unknown”)

 

Council District C

  • John Kydes, D 1,814
  • Jenn McMurrer, 1,693 (1,476 on the Democratic line, 175 Working Families Party and 20 “unknown”)
  • Read Auerbach, R 1,434
  • Scott Goodwin, I 468

Council District D

  • Heidi Alterman, D 1,978 (1,772 on the Democratic line, 201 Working Families Party and five “unknown”)
  • Tom Keegan, R 1,817
  • Diane Jellerette, D 1,668 (1,569 on the Democratic line, 91 Working Families Party and eight “unknown”)
  • Heather Dunn, I 738

 

Council District E

  • Tom Livingston, D 2,195 (1,980 on the Democratic line, 198 Working Families Party and 17 “unknown”)
  • Lisa Shanahan, D 2,039 (1,892 on the Democratic line, 130 Working Families Party and 17 “unknown”)
  • Andrew Anello, R 1,098
  • Heather Schneider, I 902

 

First Taxing District Commissioner

  • Elsa Peterson Obuchowski, D 872
  • Karen Doyle Lyons, R 486

 

First Taxing District Treasurer

  • Rosa Murray, D 949
  • John Miller, R 446

 

Second Taxing District Commissioner

  • Sandra Stokes, D 727
  • Mary Mann, D 741

 

Second Taxing District Treasurer

  • Darlene Young, D 797

 

Third Taxing District Commissioner

  • Johnnie Mae Weldon, D 721
  • Suzanne Buffone, R 626

 

Third Taxing District Treasurer

  • Read Auerbach, R 898

 

Sixth Taxing District Commissioner

  • Andy Meyerson, I 846
  • Priscilla Feral, D 270

 

Sixth Taxing District Treasurer

  • Gilbert Kernan, R 657

Selectman

  • Andy Garfunkel, D 7,606
  • Samuel Pride, D 6,504
  • Shannon O’Toole Giandurco, R 4,643
  • Kathryn Martino, R 4,460
  • Denise Chicatell Brown, I 1,435
  • Jo Bennett, I 1,519

 

City Sheriff

  • Bobby Burgess, D 6,937
  • Ron Paladino, R 4,522
  • Joe Maddafari, I 2,373

Constable

(Top seven are winners)

  1. Beth Siegelbaum, D 6,813
  2. Johnnie Mae Weldon, D 6,727
  3. Jalin Sead, D 6,666
  4. Ernie Dumas, D 6,617
  5. Peter Bondi, R 5,085
  6. John Romano, R 4,966
  7. Ray Cooke, R 4,887
  8. Frank Mauro, R 4,636
  9. Erik Anderson, I 1,735
  10. Jeff Rollings, I 1,563

 

City Treasurer

  • Joe Tamburri, D 7,874
  • Jerry Petrini, R 5,732

 

The results do not include Election Day Registration and have not been double-checked, Wells said.

 

Republican response

If the stats hold, it’s Rilling’s best showing yet, as he won reelection with 55.5% in 2019, 56 % in 2017 and 62.1% in 2015.

This was Riddle’s second run at elected office; he unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) last fall and didn’t become an actively vocal Norwalk Mayoral candidate until October.

“I’m really surprised about the voter turnout,” Riddle said Tuesday evening at the Norwalk Inn. “It’s lower than I expected, especially with everything going on in the country. But you know, it was a short runway for this campaign. And we are starting the next campaign for the next two years tonight.”

Yes, he’s planning to run for Mayor in 2023.

“I’m going to keep Harry accountable, I’m going to watch every single move that he does, I’m going to call out all of his failures,” Riddle said. “And we are going to watch the Board of Education to make sure that they’re doing the proper things for our children in this city, and improving the education instead of focusing on things that are outside of the classroom.”

Riddle said he doesn’t expect any competition for the 2023 Mayoral candidacy.

“I’m going to establish a very strong campaign and we are going to bring a full backing and contact all 56,000 voters in Norwalk in order to win this election,” he said.

Acting Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms said, “Two years is a long time. But you know, what, he came in around 39%. And so I think certainly, if he wants to take a look at it again, he deserves a shot.”

Does Wilms think Riddle won’t have competition in 2023?

“Two years is an eternity in politics,” Wilms said.

Wilms congratulated Rilling on his victory, calling a fifth term “quite an achievement.”

“I also want to credit all the all the victors the winners, they put in hard campaigns,” he said. “Certainly on our side, we’re very happy about Tom Keegan staying in office. Obviously, we had hoped for more. But, you know, we’re glad that Tom is back. And all I can say is, as far as the party goes, I mean, obviously, it’s been a rough three, four years for us. But I there’s a lot of new people that are joining. There’s a lot of new energy, and I’m feeling more optimistic today than I was six months ago.”

 

‘Norwalk likes what we’re doing’

Brinton did not reply to an email asking for a response to the election.

It’s her third attempt to win elected office, as she ran for Mayor in 2017 as an unaffiliated candidate before securing the Republican endorsement in 2019. Her “Independents for Norwalk” largely repeated her refrains, announcing that the Rilling administration is over developing Norwalk and alleging that tax credits are being handed out to developers.

Duff, in speaking to the DTC, said, “Most cities would die for, and are envious of, the developments happening in the city. They would die for one development.”

Norwalk residents are telling Democrats they “love the way things are moving forward” and it’s being done very responsibly, “continue to do the great work that you’re doing each and every day,” Duff said. “’You’re working to solve problems together. You’re having a debate about those the issues that you’re bringing forward, and that you’re doing it in a way that make the people of Norwalk proud.’”

Rilling said, “This is the hardest working team of candidates we have ever had. And it shows, the results are in and the city of Norwalk has overwhelmingly said ‘We like what you’re doing. And we want to continue on this path.’”

This will be Rilling’s fifth two-year term. What might be different?

“I think we have to keep Norwalk moving in the right direction, we have to have smart growth, we have to have, one of the first things we have to do is get out of this pandemic.”

He spoke of school infrastructure and smart growth and exploring alternative energies.

The Rilling administration attempted a charter revision in 2015 but voters spurned the move after a campaign spearheaded by Brinton, who alleged that the proposed lengthening of the Mayoral term into four years was purely self-interest on Rilling’s part.

So might charter revision be a goal this term?

“I think it’s a good time to try,” he said. “Charter revision is absolutely critical. It’s necessary that charter needs to be reworked looked at, you know, make the appropriate changes. Yes, I am planning on discussing that with the Council, see what their thoughts are and if we can put together a charter revision commission.”

And what became of the plan to expand the Norwalk Public Library, possibly by purchasing adjacent land owned by real estate broker Jason Milligan?

“That’s still in the works,” Rilling said. “… We want to make that library, kind of a center, a hub down in the center of Norwalk.”

Updated, 1:12 p.m.: More information.

 

Updated at 5 a.m. with complete story.

Original story:

Mayor Harry Rilling celebrates Tuesday in the Hilton Garden Inn with a gesture indicating “two more years.”

The 2021 Election was today, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Democrats are once again celebrating – they have won almost every top-level elected office in Tuesday’s election, they say.

Mayor Harry Rilling has cruised to reelection and every Democratic Council at Large candidate has won, they say. The entire Democratic Board of Education slate is in.

This preliminary count does not include absentee ballots, but they’re confident about every seat except District D Council. They believe Republican Council member Tom Keegan has won reelection, and his Democratic counterpart will be Heidi Altermann.

Norwalk is solidly Democratic, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said.

This story will be updated.

20 comments

John O'Neill November 3, 2021 at 8:57 am

After he was defeated for re-election in 1989, New York Mayor Ed Koch was asked if he would ever run for office again. “No,” Koch replied. “The people have spoken … and they must be punished.”

I think that just about sums it up…

Scott Vetare November 3, 2021 at 10:49 am

“One party rule is ok when it’s us” WOW! NOW WE’RE BEING RULED!? Norwalk is going to the crapper! Communists RULE their countries. That quote is appalling!

Stuart Garrelick November 3, 2021 at 11:34 am

Yesterday, Election Day, I ignored the advice of the man in the incessant TV commercials warning against becoming your parents and offering guidance to keep that from happening.
I applied to work the polls as my dear departed mother, Phyllis, did about 40 years ago. She worked as a “Checker” and I was a “Ballot Clerk” at Saint Mary’s Church polling place.
Despite a 15+ hour workday I was so glad that I did so. I was proud of the process that I was a part of and totally impressed with what I saw.
Firs, I was impressed with a dedicated work crew committed to the job, which they did with intelligence, responsibility, passion and good humor!
Second I was proud of and impressed with our Norwalk electorate, their diversity, patriotism, commitment and especially the respect and good manners and humor they displayed!
One older gentleman came to vote in person accompanied by an aide, able only to take steps with about a four inch stride. We directed him to a sitting vote booth but he proudly stood, voted and walked back across the room to place his ballot in the box. I had a tear in my eye. And there were many others with canes, walking sticks and walkers who came to vote in person, as well as people with hearing and sight problems. It was clearly important to them.
And I was proud of all the young people who came to vote, a number asking for help because it was their first time.
Add those who struggled with the language and also asked for help.
And I especially enjoyed the parents who proudly brought their young children to see them vote and took the time to explain the process to them.
SO I WAS MY PARENTS FOR A DAY. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. IT WAS QUITE A DAY! I’M SO GLAD I DID IT.

tysen canevari November 3, 2021 at 3:17 pm

One party Rule is good. Great quote Harry So much for being a mayor of diversity. Is there no mask mandate at The Hilton Garden Inn? Did Your “Chief of Staff” give the ok for that? 2 more years of your good old boy networking and kickbacks from devolopers at the expense of such a great town. I am still waiting for you to reveal which town wants to emulate Norwalk, as you stated in the debate. Could it be Darien, New Canaan, Westport? LOL

piberman November 3, 2021 at 3:47 pm

CT continues to make a statement with one party rule: decade long stagnant economy and major cities (save Stamford), public Unions as its largest industry 120,000 strong, 2nd highest taxes (see Tax Foundation) discourages major business from investing here and absence of a hi-tech industry. We continue to export our “seed capital” as graduates leave CT.

Norwalk is ever closer to a renters majority City lacking a major business center with good jobs.
Remains CT’s most transient commuter City with leafy suburbs surrounding a long depressed inner core with 10% poverty.

So no change is our future. Few long term residents especially homeowners will retire here.

Sarah LeMieux November 3, 2021 at 5:19 pm

Congratulations everyone! I think most regular commenters on NON might be surprised to learn that most of the city disagrees with you about most things, as they quietly go about their business of making their community a better place, without venting in comments threads.

Victor Cavallo November 3, 2021 at 8:21 pm

It was a slam-dunk loss caused by among other failures that the Republicans intentionally put up NO candidates for Board of Ed -no one! And the party fell down on other nominations as well. And it spectacularly failed to get its message across-if there was any message at all other than “please don’t vote against us because we’re democrats too.”

When has the NRTC EVER in the past declined to fulfill candidate nominations except in 2021? Was there some stupid deal contrived with Lisa and her party similar to the stupid deals contrived in the past two election cycles to endorse her and prop her up as a viable opponent to Harry?

At least the RTC could have put up some warm bodies for Board of Ed; like maybe the past chairmen they’ve lately chewed up and spat out.

They missed an opportunity to weigh in on the winning education issues that arose in Virginia; issues that could have resonated in Norwalk and that won the bell-weather election for the new Virginia Governor Youngkin. Absolutely disgusting.

The NRTC might as well be dissolved and disbanded since it has little or no justification for fund-raising since they have recently demonstrated no commitment to its bylaws: to elect Republican candidates.

CT-Patriot November 3, 2021 at 8:25 pm

Nine rings for the 9 Council at large.Doomed to resident fighting.

Nine rings for the BOE. That build the CRT.

One ring to rule them all.

One ring to find them.

One ring to bring them all and into the darkness bind them.

Lisa Brinton November 4, 2021 at 5:26 am

Victor – Deal? You’re joking right? The RTC spent more time attacking Independent candidates than the Rilling ticket, demonstrating another aspect of Norwalk’s single party rule. Then, there was the nonsense spouted about education by your mayoral candidate, without your team putting up a single BOE candidate, so then R voters just skipped voting for any BOE candidates altogether (something like 13,000 blanks!) Presumably, because they couldn’t find their party? Over 50% of our budget and growing, trivial amounts of revenue from Hartford, despite exploding poverty levels and you guys focus on masks & CRT. SMH The RTC has had a very direct role in single party rule over the years, which is why there is now going to be an Independent Party. We got a little over 25% of the votes our first year and we plan to grow that from that.

George November 4, 2021 at 11:00 am

Can’t want to read all the posts about how East Norwalk was destroyed and how traffic on East Ave has turned to looking like West Ave and CT. Ave. Keep voting for one party rule.

Good luck trying to use Exit 16 next. All that traffic will start using Strawberry Hill and 136.

Mike O'Reilly November 4, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Lisa, I met a friend who asked me after voting Hey I thought we were voting for BOE in this election and I replied we did it was on the back of the ballot. He looked totally stunned. No one told me. He is a very intelligent person who was interested in voting for BOE. Anyone else hear this?

Nora King November 4, 2021 at 6:49 pm

The layout of the ballot needs to be sent to the state. It is misleading and borderline fraudulent. Worse design I have ever seen. People were totally confused. Some people thought you couldn’t leave any blank, some thought you had to vote in rows, and some never saw the back. The fact that the Democrats had poster boards set up to explain to people tells you something.

CT-Patriot November 5, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Ballots seem fine to me…if you can read and understand when given a document that determines the voting tabulations….just stop and take a moment to read it.

If you cannot understand it, well, maybe some of you shouldn’t vote..

All kidding aside, simply…here’s the kicker…ASK!

People manning the poles will assist you, just ASK for help.

Look at the large sample most of not ALL poling places put up on a wall or board while waiting to check in, or after. Give yourself time to read it fully…you rush or assume, that’s on you!

Niz November 17, 2021 at 9:43 am

I was a Marvin school, two people I am familiar with made sure to inform me the ballot has two sides. when voting I felt a bit confused, asked for help and was assisted.
I am sad Norwalk did not get more party diversity in the winners. As diversity is important. Sad the voter turn out was not more as well.

Niz November 17, 2021 at 9:44 am

I was a Marvin school, two people I am familiar with made sure to inform me the ballot has two sides. when voting I felt a bit confused, asked for help and was assisted.
I am sad Norwalk did not get more party diversity in the winners. As diversity is important. I read the voter turn out was not more than the previous election cycle either.

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