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State puts temporary kybosh on Norwalk Dem mayoral activity

Matt Miklave playfully waves Tuesday night as he exits a Norwalk Democratic convention closed door caucus with the three other Norwalk Democrats vying to be mayor. At left is Andy Garfunkel.

Updated, 6:27 p.m.

NORWALK, Conn. – You know all those petitions the Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidates have been circulating since Wednesday morning, all those signatures they collected?
They have to be ripped up, Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.
Everyone can start over again next Wednesday, per a state decision, he said.

Norwalk’s Democratic Party convention ended Tuesday without an endorsed mayoral candidate after none of the four candidates achieved the 18 votes (out of 35) necessary. A motion was made to adjourn – that motion did get the simple majority that was needed.
All four candidates – Harry Rilling, Andy Garfunkel, Vinny Mangiacopra and Matt Miklave – had said they would force a primary if they didn’t get the endorsement. The thinking was that they’d end the convention and get started on filling the necessary petitions the next morning, Garfunkel said.
Garfunkel, Rilling, Mangiacopra and Miklave did just that.
Now the state has put a halt to it. Effort wasted, Wells said.
The Connecticut Secretary of State issued a ruling Thursday morning saying the men cannot collect signatures on a petition until next Wednesday, Wells said.
“The Secretary of the State’s office ruled that, under state law, when there is no endorsement, the petitions may not be handed out until July 24th, which is one day after the end of the endorsement period, rather than the day after the endorsement meeting, which would have been the case if anyone had been endorsed for the office,” Wells said. “Apparently this is the first time they have been had to rule on this question.”
Although party officials contacted the secretary of state Tuesday night, Wells was not in on the conversation, he said. His chief concern was what would happen if the convention went past midnight, as that would mean the petitions would be issued the same day as the convention, he said. The convention ended at about 11:30 p.m., rendering the concern moot. Wells issued the petitions Wednesday morning.
Why the confusion?
“It’s never come up before,” he said. “Nobody in the state can ever remember having a ruling on it before.”
Garfunkel said he is stunned, but no one had asked that question Tuesday night when they were questioning the secretary of state’s office.
“We weren’t advised on this, but then, we didn’t ask the question either,” he said. “I can’t put all the blame on the person. But we were in an unprecedented situation anyway.”
Wells said the names the men have collected are useless. He won’t accept the petitions. They are dated so he will know if someone is turning in an old one, he said.
“Everybody thought it was a great idea not to endorse someone,” Wells said of Tuesday night’s Democratic convention. “They’d all have petitions now if they endorsed somebody.”
Mangiacopra campaign worker Will Sharry disputed that.
“Vinny was the only one who said we should endorse someone; we should leave the convention with an endorsement,” he said.
As District D chairman, Mangiacopra felt the primary role of a political party was to endorse a candidate, Sharry said. There was “no guarantee, but we felt the momentum was going in our favor,” he said. “We feel if the party had carried out its primary role and endorsed a candidate everyone would have had petitions yesterday that would have been valid. … We wouldn’t have this problem.”
The candidates need about 775 signatures on a petition by Aug. 7, Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Amanda Brown said.
Miklave said that won’t be a problem.
“We had collected several pages of signatures at the time we were informed that the petitions were invalid,” he said. “We told our volunteers to stand down until July 24. We do not foresee a problem gathering the needed signatures.”
Rilling said the snafu is “not a tremendous nuisance.”
“These are things that happen and you just have to adjust,” he said. “In all fairness, nobody’s ever had a situation like this.”
His campaign had put together petition packages, gotten the circulators certified, mapped out neighborhoods to visit and gotten “quite a few signatures.”
“Of course, we’ll have to go back to those people,” he said.
Garfunkel said he thinks maybe a deal can be worked out among the candidates so they do not have to destroy the petitions.
“Is everything voided? That’s still not concrete information,” the former town clerk said. “… That was the word but there are other ways and processes in any case.”
He already has four petition pages full of signatures, he said.
“Everyone talked about their momentum,” he said. “It’s a halt to my activity. It’s a halt to all of ours.”
Anticipating that there was a good chance that he wouldn’t get the endorsement, Garfunkel scheduled a petition signing party for Friday evening. One of his opponents is criticizing him for that, he said, but “you have to be prepared to go.”
The party will go on, he said. The time may be used to organize the drive.
Mangiacopra said he won’t have any problem filling the petitions, either.
“We continue to find that voters are engaged, excited, and most of all ready for a new mayor,” he said. “I believe our campaign presents the best contrast to Mayor Moccia and that’s what we are hearing from voters as well. Based on our petition efforts yesterday, I’m confident we’ll be on the ballot to offer voters that true contrast.”

Original story:

Updated 4:18 p.m.: Comment from Mangiacopra campaign.

NORWALK, Conn. – You know all those petitions the Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidates have been circulating since Wednesday morning, all those signatures they collected? They have to be ripped up.

Everyone can start over again next Wednesday, Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.

Norwalk’s Democratic Party convention ended Tuesday without an endorsed mayoral candidate after none of the four men seeking the role achieved the 18 votes necessary. A motion was made to adjourn – that motion did get the simple majority that was needed.

All four candidates had said they would force a primary if they didn’t get the endorsement anyway. To force a primary, they need 775 names on a petition, NDTC Chairwoman Amanda Brown said. Harry Rilling, Andy Garfunkel, Vinny Mangiacopra and Matt Miklave each began collecting the names the next morning, after visiting Wells and getting the official paperwork.

Now the state has put a halt to it. Effort wasted.

The Connecticut Secretary of State issued a ruling Thursday morning saying the men cannot collect signatures on a petition until next Wednesday, Wells said.

Although party officials contacted the secretary of state Tuesday night, Wells was not in on the conversation, he said. His chief concern was what would happen if the convention went past midnight, as that would mean the petitions would be issued the same day as the convention, he said. The convention ended at about 11:30 p.m., rendering the concern moot. Wells issued the petitions.

Thursday, word came down that a technicality meant there should be a delay. He didn’t say what that was.

Why the confusion?

“It’s never come up before,” he said. “Nobody in the state can ever remember having a ruling on it before.”

Garfunkel said Thursday he already has four petition pages full of signatures.

Wells said the names the men have collected are useless. He won’t accept the petitions.

“Everybody thought it was a great idea not to endorse someone,” Wells said of Tuesday night’s Democratic convention. “They’d all have petitions now if they endorsed somebody.”

Mangiacopra campaign worker Will Sharry disputed that.

“Vinny was the only one who said we should endorse someone, we should leave the convention with an endorsement,” he said.

As District D chairman, Mangiacopra felt the primary role of a political party was to endorse a candidate, Sharry said. There was “No guarantee, but we felt the momentum was going in our favor,” he said. “We feel if the party had carried out its primary role and endorsed a candidate everyone would have had petitions yesterday, that would have been valid. … We wouldn’t have this problem.”

Comments

12 responses to “State puts temporary kybosh on Norwalk Dem mayoral activity”

  1. Tom

    Will Sharry needs to move on and quit whining that his candidate didn’t get the endorsement. Mangiacopra didn’t even have the most votes…moveon.org

  2. NorwalkDinosaur

    What a $hit$how.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Joe Espo

      Indeed, kibosh. Or kybosh, according to various dictionaries. Merriam-Webster Online says kybosh is an alternate spelling, mainly British. We would generally prefer an All-American approach, but, hey, why quibble? No matter the version, the pack is temporarily dead in the water and back to square one. It gives Republicans a chance to gloat, some Democrats a reason to howl, and the majority of Dems a time to shake their heads and wish they could just move past the drama and get to the general election campaign with their best candidate.

  3. Don’t Panic

    Speaking of Republicans, Art C. was an observer at the convention. Why no quote from him?

  4. M Allen

    Perhaps some things are better left witnessed in silence for added effect?

  5. piberman

    Each day its gets funnier and funnier. But a thoroughly dysfunctional Norwalk Democratic Party fails its primary mission in promoting good governance. And that’s no laughing matter.

  6. Joe Espo

    @Mark – Well if I hit you up with centre, tyre harbour, humour, neighbour, rumour, me thinks you wouldn’t appreciate that I’d cause your spell check to spit out red squiggles all over the place. I saw red when I saw kybosh. But please…don’t make me even more verklempt: it’s “Haroldo” and “Dardy”.

    (Editor’s note: Funny guy. But, as for Haroldo and Dardy, those were fixed hours ago. One was a typo, one was improperly spelled on a list given to Nancy.)

  7. EveT

    Understood that this is unprecedented, and probably could not have been foreseen. But they surely could have foreseen that no candidate would get a majority of the votes at Tues night’s convention. Why did they have to call the Sec of the State late Tues night during the meeting? Why could they not have gotten a clear set of “what if” instructions well ahead of time?

  8. D(ysfunctional)TC

    @EveT. Ask Amanda Brown, if you dare. Remember, she couldn’t possibly be replaced. This is all on her.

  9. NorwalkDinosaur

    This is an irrelevant story. Regardless of whether a nominee was picked on Tuesday, petitions were going to be circulated by the three other candidates. Next Wed/Thr/Fri/whatever, who cares. They are all playing by the same rules on the same time frame. Frankly, it forces all of them to get out there and talk to voters. This is a good thing. If you want to lay blame, then talk to Mr. Wells. The Registrar of Voters Office should have never handed out the petition forms without approval from the SOS Office. They act as an agent of the Secretary of the State and control all petition forms. This is the first time in awhile that the DTC actually has nothing to do with the mess.

  10. LWitherspoon

    @DysTC
    If you should happen to see Amanda Brown somewhere, may I recommend Dubya’s famous line: “Heckuva job, Brownie”.

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