Do You Eat Coconuts? Mangiacopra, Newton Strategist, Likes His With Lots Of Politics

Mangiacopra, Newton
Vinnie Mangiacopra and Ernie Newton last summer in Newton's campaign headquarters.

The political strategist who coined the battle cry Redemption and Opportunity for Ernie Newton’s comeback attempt for state senate last summer will try to place his own name on the ballot this year as a Democratic challenger to Republican Mayor Dick Moccia in Norwalk. Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, came up short, but one thing Vinny Mangiacopra won’t be short on is rhetoric. He knows how to turn a phrase. Can he add the substance?

Mangiacopra, a Norwalk resident, is no stranger to Bridgeport politics. He’s been involved in several races including for Probate Judge Paul Ganim and Congressman Jim Himes.

Politics takes hard-headed determination. Mangiacopra in Italian means “eating coconut”–eating dried coconut, anyway, so his entry into what could be a large Democratic field trying to take out Mayor Moccia will certainly add some spice, and few head knocks as well.

Vinny's official mayoral mug. Check out the color combo.

Mangiacopra, 31, provided Newton a nice tagline for his senate race in which Newton finished a close second to Andres Ayala in the Democratic primary. “The message of redemption and opportunity was always bigger than one person, one individual and one politician,” says Mangiacopra. “It is a community message aimed to shine a brighter light on our neediest citizens, those that are most vulnerable and consistently at risk.”

Newton’s involved in some risky court business right now trying to fend off state charges he manipulated $500 in campaign contributions to secure roughly $80,000 in public campaign funds.

Hmmm. Will Moses campaign for Vinny in Norwalk?



  1. *** Don’t know why this kid did not go to law school ’cause he’s got what it takes! He’s young, energetic, gift of gab, great with numbers and knows politics just for starters. He can make “Jack the Ripper” look appealing to voters if given the political task! Vinny would make a great candidate for Mayor of Norwalk should he decide to run. Best of luck to him! ***

  2. Mojo,
    Why do you want the kid to go to law school? It’s another three years of school! Another three years of costly education! And three years of avoiding the challenges of the real world!
    He will need to be good with numbers, work with them, report them, and understand the implications for property taxpayers with every dollar of expenditure.
    In terms of message, the notion of ‘redemption’ played well in Newton’s campaign. He embraced it in each conversation. However when the State Office that keeps track of such things lets us know how the $80,000 of public money was spent, that the real opportunity was not to win public office but to access some dollars, anywhere possible.
    Were only two of the three candidates receiving State funds? If only two, does that mean $150,000 went into the primary campaign from the State (and how much from candidates)? And if you add all that up and divide by three candidates, what does the State taxpayer receive for each of those votes in that District? A cost of $5, 10, 15, 25 or more per vote in the ballot box? Cheap or expensive? Time will tell.

  3. There is a problem here, and it’s a BIG one. Moccia. For the most part Norwalk citizens maintain a torrid love affair with him. Moccia’s strategy is simple: He never stops campaigning. Never. He is out and about every weekend, partying with his peeps, and he is personable, approachable, witty and smart. He gives the impression of being a “Man about Town” because he IS. He does his job, and explains his positions and decisions well.

    Now, if Mr. Mangiacopra (what a mouthful) wants to contend, he would do well to drive home the Education issue. I know a number of parents who have pulled their children out of the school system, and the teachers are not happy either. There were big cuts last year and the year before, and the class sizes are big. Teachers are further stretched because the para-professional support that was once there is dwindling away via attrition (and not being replaced) or budget cuts. There are some failing schools in Norwalk as well, and the administrators don’t love being on “The List.”

    Taxes are another issue for them I guess, but I wont weigh in too heavily on that subject because I live in Bridgeport and Norwalk’s mil rate looks good from my front porch.


Leave a Reply