Mayor John Pryor and Mayor Pro Tem Roberta Peterson have declined to run for re-election, and Councilmember Mark Buchsieb’s can’t run again after serving two four-year terms.
So far the only new candidate to file the necessary petitions and signatures to run is Councilmember Stu Fraser, who is shooting for the mayor slot. The scuttlebutt is that Thom Carnevale, a local political activist, and Chance Leoff, the chairman of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission, have taken out the paperwork to run, but until any petitions and signatures are submitted by Monday, Aug. 27, nothing is official.
“It is going to be difficult because we are not dealing with glamorous issues,” Fraser said, looking ahead to what he might be facing if elected mayor. “What we are dealing with is the nuts and bolts.”
Fraser said he considered running for mayor four years ago, deciding against it after Pryor entered the race.
“Four years ago, I had been on the council for two years, and I was considering running for mayor but we thought it would be more advantageous for John to step in,” Fraser said. “I supported him, thought he was a great guy and I thought we had a lot in common.”
But after six years on council, Fraser went out and got more than the necessary signatures for his petition – he got 41 when he needed 25 – in order to declare his candidacy. Experience, he said, will be his political calling card once campaigning begins in earnest in October.
“I have learned a tremendous amount in the last six years about how town government runs in this community,” he said. “It was obvious to me that I should step in. I didn’t know of anybody else with that kind of background.”
Peterson said she has no interest in being mayor because it’s a job for an “extrovert,” adding that so far, she supports Fraser for the job. She said she won’t run for re-election because she believes councilmembers should only serve one term. However, Peterson, who said she might run for council again in the future, will likely continue serving on such appointed boards as the Open Space Commission.
“I think everybody should do a term on council,” she said. “I know a lot of people who have been here 30 years and haven’t done their term yet. I’ve been trying to talk some people into doing it. In fact, I’m going to start making calls right now.”
Entering this weekend, Leoff was in the careful- consideration phase, unsure if it was better to run for mayor, to shoot for a council seat, or just stay on as chair of HARC.
“I haven’t made a final decision, but I’m getting closer,” he said. “It’s a tough one. You have to open yourself up to a lot of abuse.
“But John Pryor’s decision not to run for mayor really changes things. It’s a bit worrisome about what’s going to happen over the next few years.”
Carnevale, meanwhile, said he’s close to getting the number of signatures he needs to run.
“Yes, I am obtaining the signatures for mayor,” he said. “I am close to the number of signatures needed.”
By the way, a tip for all of the potential voters out there who are approached by candidates to sign their petitions: You can only sign once for each available office.
“Oh, yeah, we watch for that,” said Town Clerk Mj Schillaci.