January 26, 2009

And then there were five candidates for mayor...

And then there were five...

Five officially announced candidates for mayor of Racine, that is. Jim Spangenberg, 13th District Alderman, joined four others who have filed a declaration of candidacy for the post abandoned last Tuesday by Gary Becker after his arrest -- was it just two weeks ago? -- on child sexual enticement charges.

Spangenberg joins two other aldermen -- the 11th District's Greg Helding and the 4th District's Jim Kaplan -- one former alderman, Pete Karas, and Jody Harding of the Racine Taxpayers Association who have officially entered the race.

Other aldermen who have said they are considering running include Q.A. Shakoor II of the 8th District and District 5 Alderman and Council President David Maack.

And then there's Rep. Cory Mason, who would bring another dimension to the race. Certain bloggers, by the way, have said that Mason can't run, because of a new policy adopted by Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan prohibiting state representatives from raising campaign funds during consideration of the state budget., which is sure to overlap the campaign period of a mayoral race.

We looked into that and learned -- from Phillip Walvak, communication director for the Speaker's office -- that the change in the State Assembly's policy manual prohibits the raising of campaign funds for future Assembly races. "The intent was never to make it impossible for them to hold a non-partisan other office," Walvak said. "It's just a policy that the Assembly will impose on itself for candidates' re-election bids for the State Assembly."

With that out of the way, Mason still hasn't decided. He did say, however, that his new baby, Eleanor Roosevelt Mason, born on Dec. 26, isn't sleeping enough yet to give him time to consider much of anything. He's got time; the City Council won't formally set the election date for any mayoral race until Feb. 3 at the earliest.


  1. I'll add to Pete's story here:

    Mason is out. I talked with him today and he's having too much fun in the Democratic-led Legislature to quit now. Look for a press release Tuesday.

    Rep. Bob Turner may be in. No one knows for sure, but the former alderman and mayoral candidate may be looking for a local office.

  2. Mason/Turner can legally accept donations for a local race during the State budget process, but can they ethically do it?

  3. If Jim Spangenberg backs the West Racine project he will never make it.

  4. StopthemadnessNOW1/27/2009 8:16 AM

    Glad to learn of Cory Mason's decision to focus on the Assembly. He has the potential to do more for the city as a member of the Joint Finance Committee than he would as mayor, IMHO.

  5. It is an ethics violation and he would be prohibited from raising money period for anyone. It applies to their campaign accounts, to the state party, and to any new office. If Cory, or Turner for that matter, thinks they can do it they will be sorely mistaken.

    And someone should tell the Speaker's office it does not matter what the intention was, it is what the rule does. Is he really making the arguement that Mason cannot leverage his position on Joint Finance to raise money for the Assembly, but he can for a mayor campaign. That makes absolutely no sense.

  6. John, I don't believe that the rule floating through the Assembly does not exclude local or federal races for fundraising.

    That said, yes, it would be highly unethical for Mason or Turner to raise money (especially PAC dollars) for a mayoral campaign when they both pledged not to raise money during the budget period in Madison.

    They both co-authored an op-ed on this not too long ago.

  7. Doesn't anyone see a potential conflict of interest in Turner holding both an alderman's position and the mayor's position?
    How can he honestly represent the entire city and not favor his own district. Just looks greedy to me.
    Thank God Mason pulled out, I just wish Turner would too.