New year, new us. At least that’s the goal floating in the minds of ambitious wannabes across the swampy plain.
It’s an odd-numbered year, and that means oddities from hither and yon get delusions of grandeur and decide it’s their time to be in the spotlight. It’s an election year at the local level. Elected positions from school board to township trustee are up and at ‘em. The low-hanging fruit of the electoral universe, these seats attract candidates from the good, the bad, along with the under-the-rock slimeballs.
In T-Town, twenty nineteen means all six district council seats are up for election. Fifty valid signatures on a petition gets the ball rolling, so getting your name on the ballot is a relatively easy task. Running competitively in a district race requires a small group of volunteers, good walking shoes, and a measly few thousand dollars in campaign funds. There’s no need for expensive media buys, and it only requires a few hours per week to knock on every likely voter’s door. A cheap mailer or two, and, viola! A candidacy is born!
Hence the no-names and ne’er-do-wells that repeatedly pop up like a bad penny on a ballot near you. We’re certain Alfonso Narvaez is lurking somewhere out there, petitions in hand, ready to hit the campaign trail.
Witness last year, after Lindsay Webb left her District Six seat to become County Treasurer. The vacancy triggered a special election. Former TPD officer Chris Delaney was appointed to the seat by the remaining members of Council. In the May special he had to face off against the likes of former Democrat, former Green, and perennial loser David Ball; Republican Jim Nowak, who has lost elections at levels up and down the ballot; and Alex Rivera, who has a name like a rock star but the political acumen of a rock.
Delaney won by a margin of thirteen percentage points in the field crowded by second fiddles.
It’s early in the election season, making it a bit difficult to handicap the six district races this time around. But as you know, dear readerz, we laugh in the face of difficulty and throw caution, and good sense, to the wind. So here goes, our fearless predictions for the District races, twenty nineteen style.
District One. Current office holder, Councilman Tyrone Riley.
Riley was first elected to Council in twenty eleven with a bit over fifty-six percent of the vote. He won his twenty fifteen primary election with more than sixty-nine percent of the vote. After clearing away the primary chaff, something called Darryl K. Fingers, he went on to win the general election with over seventy-two percent of the vote over also-ran Jennifer Scott. These impressive results make Riley a likely shoo-in for re-election this year. But term limits mean this will be his last term in office, and the seat will be open in twenty twenty-three. Anyone with sights on that far-off goal might try to get in line by running this year. The fact that they will get trounced probably won’t enter their frenetic head. We predict at least two challengers to Riley, including a re-do by Scott. And Riley will be re-elected with seventy-five percent of the vote.
District Two. Current office holder, Council President Matt Cherry.
Cherry was originally appointed to Council to replace D. Michael Collins after Collins became Mayor in twenty fourteen. Cherry won the seat in a special election against a field crowded by such stalwarts as Lickity Split ice cream lady Marcia Helman and long-time school board member Bob Vasquez. Oh, and perennial wannabe Joe Celusta, but we really couldn’t care less about that.. He has since retained his seat be drubbing the unknown Drew something or other with over seventy percent of the vote in twenty fifteen. Cherry gets financial backing from labor and the business community in amounts unheard of for a district council rep. He will win re-election easily, and have fat campaign coffers to go with it. Our bold prediction? He will run unopposed.
Next issue we will tackle the remaining four council districts, including the most competitive seat this year. Don’t miss it!