Mayor Richard Moccia says he thought all along he would run against Harry Rilling in November.
"It was what I expected," Moccia said.
Former police chief Rilling won the Democratic party's nomination for mayor Tuesday in a primary election. He will bid to unseat Moccia, Norwalk's mayor since 2005. Here's the catch: Rilling headed the police department for about seven years with Moccia in office.
"He has said publicly that I gave him everything he needed to run the department, and that I was a good mayor," Moccia said.
With that much time spent working together, conventional wisdom says the two know a lot about each other. But both have pledged to keep their campaigns about the issues, not each other.
During his victory speech Tuesday night, Rilling said his campaign would "stay on message" and keep "a positive campaign" because, he said, "the people will hear it."
"We both agreed we want to run a positive campaign," Moccia said. "But I understand he will be critical of my policies."
Moccia says Rilling will need to prove he can do a better job leading the city.
"He is going to have to show the areas he thinks where the city is not functioning well," he said.
He says Rilling had plenty of time to bring up problems in the city during his time as chief.
"I under while he was chief he's not going to criticize your boss, if you want to look at it that way," Moccia said. "But if he thought things were going so well in the city, why did he continue to take contract extensions?"
Moccia says he is confident in his knowledge of the city, what needs to be done and how Norwalk has "survived" the recent economic recession.
And ultimately, Moccia says he is encouraged by the bit of campaigning his team has done so far.
"The response has been very, very good," he said. "Very good."
Election Day is Nov. 5.