February 23, 2009
John Dickert running for mayor
Add John Dickert's name to the packed field for mayoral candidates. The First Weber Realtor and former state Assembly candidate launched his campaign Monday in the former drug house on Villa Street he helped restore. Part of the building is now used as the St. Catherine's Alumni Building.
Dickert gave an emotional speech to a crowd of about 70 people. He said the city needs a long-term plan focused on the city's positives.
"We have assets people dream about," Dickert said.
Dickert is perhaps best known as one of backers / developers of the Riverbend lofts at 730 Marquette St. The $15.3 million project turned the old Badger Uniform building into 51 condos. But he focused his announcement on the former drug house - and three other homes that now have families living in them - he helped restore as an example of the work that needs to be done to help the city.
Red "Dickert" signs hung on the walls of the building. The signs were remnants of Dickert's 2002 attempt to unseat State Rep. Bob Turner in a Democratic primary for the state Assembly. Turner won the race 52-48 percent. The two will have another chance to run against each other this spring. Both Turner and Dickert are running for mayor.
Dickert's announcement Monday increases the field to at least nine candidates. The field will be narrowed to two candidates on April 7, and a new mayor will be elected on May 5. (Right: Dickert talks with Alderman Ray DeHahn.)
With such a large field, it will be interesting to see how the campaigns develop. This is obviously a sprint to the primary (it's seven weeks away), and money could play a big role in determining who gets their name out to the public.
But with so many candidates poised to split voters into so many camps, it really could be anyone's race. If anyone knows a political science professor, you may want to tip them off to what's happening in Racine this spring. It's shaping out to be one of the more unusual elections in recent history.
For a glimpse at how Racine's election may play out, watch the news from Detroit on Tuesday night. Fifteen candidates are running to replace disgraced former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who pleaded guilty in a corruption probe.
The current mayor - who took over for Kilpatrick - and a former Detroit Pistons basketball player are the expected winners. Name recognition, more than policies, may win the day in a crowded primary.