Stamford Advocate

GOP candidate drops out

Republican Joe Corsello endorses Bobby Valentine for Stamford mayor

- By Brianna Gurciullo

STAMFORD — Joe Corsello has dropped out as the Republican candidate for mayor, announcing in a letter to the editor that he will instead back unaffiliat­ed candidate Bobby Valentine.

Corsello, a former city police officer, was endorsed by the

Stamford Republican Town Committee in July. He said in his letter Wednesday that he decided to withdraw from the race after the Stamford Police Associatio­n’s leadership endorsed Valentine last week.

“Bobby isn’t running for mayor because he needs a job or has political ambition,” Corsello

wrote. “He is doing it for the love of Stamford that he has displayed all of his life. Bobby has a diverse record of success and will bring unique insight to governing.”

Corsello, who is a drummer and U.S. Army veteran, had said his campaign was focused on public safety, schools and the city’s infrastruc­ture. One of his priorities was growing the size of the police and fire department­s.

Valentine said in a statement Wednesday that he has been garnering support from across the political spectrum.

“Prominent Democrats such as

Tim Abbazia, and now the Republican nominee Joe Corsello, are uniting in our historic effort to bring the people of Stamford together,” the former Major League Baseball manager said. Abbazia chairs Stamford’s Police Commission and previously sat on the Boards of Finance, Representa­tives and Planning.

“I’m looking forward to earning more endorsemen­ts from people who belong to all political parties, and from those who don’t belong to any party,” Valentine said.

In his letter, Corsello took shots at the two Democratic candidates in the race: Mayor David Martin and state Rep. Caroline Simmons.

“I’ve known Mayor David Martin’s leadership style for much of the 35 years since he first took office, and appreciate why his Democratic Party endorsed someone else,” Corsello wrote. “We thank him for serving, but it’s time for a change in how our government functions — or, more often, doesn’t!”

Martin declined to comment. Corsello wrote that he met recently with Simmons, who won the Stamford Democratic City Committee’s endorsemen­t by two votes. Martin forced a primary election — set for Tuesday — by collecting signatures from registered Democrats.

“Although she is a pleasant person, Caroline lacks a basic understand­ing of Stamford’s budget, union contracts, public school system and, importantl­y, our culture,” Corsello wrote.

Simmons said in a statement that she wasn’t surprised by Corsello’s withdrawal as she had been “told the Republican Party only endorsed him as a placeholde­r, which is misleading to voters.”

“I take the responsibi­lity of representi­ng all of my constituen­ts very seriously,” Simmons added. “I’ve been a State Representa­tive for one of Stamford’s most ‘purple’ districts, and I look forward to earning the vote and support of all our residents in November. “

Fritz Blau, the RTC’s chairman, said he had expected Corsello to stay in the race through the election, but he “has obviously felt now that he would rather be part of the solution with Bobby than trying to detract and take votes away.”

“We are joining the broad coalition of supporters of Bobby Valentine, including Democrats, Independen­ts and unaffiliat­eds,” Blau said. “We definitely think Bobby’s the guy for the job.”

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