Opinion: The horse has my vote

News  /  Opinion

John Hazlehurst

As of this writing, there were 12 “official” candidates for mayor, 11 for three at-large Council seats and two for the two-year unexpired District 3 term (in city bureaucracy-speak, “official” means that their petitions have been reviewed and approved). All 25 will be on the ballot, creating awful dilemmas for the miserable journalists who have to cover this looming shitshow.

Thank God I’m just an opinion columnist! I won’t have to reach out, interview and fairly present all of our would-be leaders to our bemused readers. Still, it’ll be fun to watch and write about. Decades ago, I stumbled through three campaigns for local office, so I have a lot of sympathy for all the candidates. It’s great to win, and miserable to lose. We’re going to elect a mayor and four councilors, so 20 of y’all are going home.

At this point, no candidate seems certain of election. It’s heartening to see so many folks jostling for the three at-large seats, especially so many unfamiliar names. Just to remind you, guys — this is a full-time job that pays the princely sum of $6,250 annually. To win is to lose.

Of the 12 official candidates running for mayor, it still seems to me that there are three frontrunners: Sallie Clark, Yemi Mobolade and Wayne Williams. A few months ago, it looked as if Wayne was a lock for the job, but now it’s a horse race. 

While some of the nine other candidates are marginal, others are not. Tom Strand and Longinos Gonzalez Jr. are capable, qualified community leaders who should attract plenty of votes on their own. Darryl Glenn has name recognition, as does Lawrence Martinez, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2015 and 2019. He finished at the back of the pack twice, but nevertheless siphoned off a few thousand votes from the leaders. Given a crowded, competent field, a runoff seems probable — and 35 percent of the vote might be enough to qualify for it. 

And then there are the at-large seats. Given that Council will lose three grizzled, knowledgeable and smart at-large members (Bill Murray, Strand and Williams), we’d better hope for some good replacements. No runoffs here — it’s a horse race too. Win, place or show and you’re elected. The rest of the field goes home. So who’s gonna win?

I asked my bookie, Sky Masterson, for a tip.

“I got the horse right here,

The name is Paul Revere,

And here’s a guy that says if the weather’s clear,

Can do, can do, this guy says the horse can do…”

The horse has my vote!

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