The Democratic candidates looking to unseat Mayor Richard Moccia in November are off to a head start in campaign fundraising.
According to April 10 filings from all five candidates, Democratic hopefuls Harry Rilling and Vinny Mangiacopra are leading the way, having raised $30,318 and $25,533 in 2013's first quarter, respectively.
Rilling, a former police chief, collected his donations between Feb. 24 and March 31. Rilling had 85 contributors, and 80 percent of those contributors are from Norwalk, according to Rilling's campaign.
Meanwhile, Mangiacopra garnered the greatest number of contributors with 232 donors, with the large majority of them coming from outside parties. Sixty-eight of Mangiacopra's donors are from Norwalk -- that translates to roughly 30 percent of his contributors.
Both Rilling and Mangiacopra said they were encouraged by their campaigns' fundraising efforts.
"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. "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."
"I think people will be surprised by these results," Mangiacopra said. "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."
Councilman Matt Miklave's campaign said it had raised $18,121 as of March 31. According to Tony Ditrio, Miklave's treasurer, half of the funds were raised during the campaign's exploratory phase, during which "fund raising limits are much lower."
Miklave said his fundraising reflects a "diverse range of Norwalk citizens, not just political insiders." Miklave added, "Our supporters represent all walks of life and come from every neighborhood in our city.
Incumbent Moccia raised $7,725, with 24 total contributors (18 of them from Norwalk), according to reports from the town clerk's office. Among the notable outside contributors to Moccia's cause are Vince McMahon, chairman of WWE, and wife Linda McMahon, the twice-defeated candidate for the Senate. The McMahons, Greenwich residents, donated the maximum of $1,000 apiece during the first quarter.
Reports from the town clerk's office indicate Andy Garfunkel, the final Democratic candidate and the party's choice in 2011, finished with $5,525 in funds raised. Garfunkel's campaign drew 50 total contributors, with 34 coming from Norwalk. Garfunkel's largest donation was $1,000 from a donor in Boynton Beach, Florida.