March 11, 2009
Mayoral deadline today
5:37 Update: Well, it's official. There will be 11 mayoral candidates on the April 7 ballot. Here's the early analysis: That's a lot of candidates.
Before we get into the field, though, here's some background on the election itself. The clerk's office will select the ballot order tomorrow at 10 a.m. Once the order is set, she'll send the names to the County Clerk, who is responsible for ordering ballots. Right now, the city is holding up the process.
The ballots should be back in time to give absentee voters about two weeks to vote before the election, according to Racine Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin.
Johnson-Martin will order enough ballots for a 75 percent turnout, which is standard for a mayor's race. That anticipates about 54,000 votes - a big number compared to past elections. In 2003 - the last contested mayoral election in the city - voters cast 13,481 votes. (Gary Becker defeated Ron Thomas and write-in candidate Jim Smith.)
As for the field, there's a lot of depth there. It makes you wonder where all of these candidates were in 2007 when Becker ran unopposed. That's probably a testament to the power the former mayor held.
It's impossible to list a front-runner at this point, and it's going to be that kind of an election even past the primary. Unless one candidate really wallops the field - and that seems unlikely - there's not going to be a clear favorite.
One aside: It seems clear the City Council made a good decision in requiring that the interim mayor not run for office. If Tom Friedel was in the race at this point, it's my guess he'd be the leading candidate simply because, well, he's mayor. But he's not, and now the field is wide open.
A second aside: If Facebook is any indication, Helding and Karas are in the lead. Both have had ads on my page in recent days. You wonder how much money will be thrown around in this race. If the campaigns hit their goals, we'll see tens of thousands of dollars circulating in the next few weeks.
4:15 Update: Pete Karas and Kim Plache filed.
2 p.m. Update: Austin Rodriguez's papers were returned to him, after City Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin counted his signatures, rejected some and came up with just 178 valid ones. He's back collecting more. Raymond Fay has completed the filing process. All await the final 5 p.m. deadline... And then the next crucial moment: the drawing at 10 a.m. Thursday morning to determine ballot placement -- whose name will be on top.
Update: Pete Karas called to say he's planning to file his papers this afternoon.
Mayoral candidates have until 5 p.m. today to file paperwork for the April 7 primary election. Here's who is officially in, as of 11 a.m.:
QA Shakoor II
Notable names not in yet: