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Norwalk Democratic Mayoral Hopefuls Show Fundraising Prowess

The four Democrats angling for this parking space at Norwalk City Hall each raised thousands of dollars in their bids to unseat incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia.
The four Democrats angling for this parking space at Norwalk City Hall each raised thousands of dollars in their bids to unseat incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

NORWALK, Conn. – The four Democrats angling to unseat Republican incumbent Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia are also showing an ability to raise money as evidenced by their first quarter financial filings.

All four hopefuls raised thousands of dollars during the first three months of the year, tapping into a strong number of Democrats who perhaps see Moccia as vulnerable despite his four terms in office.

Former Police Chief Harry Rilling led the Democratic field, raising more than $30,000 between Feb. 24 and March 31, according to his team. The majority of his donors are Norwalk residents, but some are local business owners and state residents.

"The generosity of these first donors has demonstrated beyond any question that I will run a strong, competitive campaign for Mayor of Norwalk," Rilling said in a statement. "Political observers in Norwalk have been looking to these early results to see whether I will be able to raise the funds necessary to run a winning campaign in November, and today I am pleased to show that my campaign has scored an excellent result on this first test."

Vinny Mangiacopra, District D Democratic chairman, was next, raising more than $25,000 during the quarter. Where Rilling said he had 85 donors, Mangiacopra claimed 232. A little more than a quarter of Mangiacopra’s donors are Norwalk residents.

"I think people will be surprised by these results," Mangiacopra said in a statement. "Our team has worked very hard to get our message out, and it’s been extremely well received. Many Norwalkers are ready to turn the page on the past and get onto the business of making our city the vibrant place it can be. This is just the beginning of the support we are building across Norwalk, Fairfield County and the entire state of Connecticut."

Common Councilman Matt Miklave was third in fundraising, generating more than $18,000, with another $7,000 in pledges, but many of his donations came while he was still exploring his run. Treasurer Tony Ditrio added that the figures are impressive because donation limits are more restrictive during the exploratory phase.

"I'm very pleased with the fundraising effort, particularly given that the campaign raised half of its funds as an Exploratory Committee rather than as a Campaign Committee,” Miklave said in a statement. "I truly believe our fundraising success is an indicator of widespread support for our ideas."

He added, “What I'm most excited about is that we've gained the support of a diverse range of Norwalk citizens, not just political insiders. Our supporters represent all walks of life and come from every neighborhood in our city. We welcome them and their ideas with open arms.”

Former Norwalk Town Clerk Dandy Garfunkel was fourth, generating more than $6,300 during the quarter, including a $500 loan from the candidate. According to his campaign Chairman Ron Kowalski, Garfunkel declined to comment on the figures at this time.

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