NORWALK, Conn. – It seems that much of 2013 in Norwalk was spent in campaign mode, as four Democrats vied to be mayor, generating much activity over the spring and summer and leading to an unprecedented four-way Democratic primary in September, before the real business finally started.
Just in case you forgot, the campaign actually began more than a year ago as then Common Councilman Matt Miklave formed an exploratory committee in November 2012. Former Norwalk Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, the 2011 Democratic challenger to Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, said he was definitely running, though he never held an official campaign kickoff. District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra announced he was a candidate in January and former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling waited until after Moccia announced on Feb. 5 that he was running for reelection before confirming the rumors and throwing his hat into the ring on Feb. 24.
We all know how that worked out. The July 16 Norwalk Democratic Town Committee convention ended without an official candidate after numerous votes repeated the same tally: Rilling 16, Mangiacopra 15, Miklave two, Garfunkel two. The Sept. 10 primary was much more definitive, as Rilling got more than 51 percent of the vote, more than the other three candidates combined.
He proceeded to beat Moccia by 1,500 votes in the Nov. 5 election, a landslide victory, after a campaign that featured endorsements from major unions and a prominent Republican, then-Councilman Nick Kydes.
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