Though Mayor Art Ward isn’t ready to make a final decision, he’s clearly eyeing reelection this fall.
“As challenging as this year has been, in all probability I’d welcome the opportunity to see it through and bring the community back in a positive mode,” Ward said Thursday.
Ward captured the mayor’s office in a hard-fought campaign in 2007 against Republican Ken Johnson, who said on the night of his defeat that he would run again in 2009.
But it isn’t yet clear whether Johnson will leap into the fray again. There’s at least a chance that freshman city Councilor Ken Cockayne will take on the mayor, assuming Ward opts to run.
Ward said that at this point, he is “so involved in the budget process and the business before me that I’m still weighing all” options in terms of his political future.
Ward, who served on the City Council from 1993 until his election as mayor, took the helm from Republican Mayor William Stortz, who stepped down after a single term. There are some who think Stortz may try to recapture the job again this year, a possibility he doesn’t deny.
It’s been awhile since a mayor has run for reelection and won.
Stortz defeated incumbent Democratic Mayor Gerard Couture in 2005 to take the mayor’s post, which he had also held in the early 1990s.
Couture served only a single term, marked by controversy over his push for the city to buy the decrepit downtown mall.
Before Couture, Democrat Frank Nicastro was mayor for a decade. He decided in 2003 to give up the job, though he didn’t give up on politics. Nicastro is currently both a city councilor and the 79th District’s state representative.
Ward said he’s so busy with municipal business that politics is taking a back seat.
“You need to deal with what’s put in front of you. That’s leadership. You’re elected to represent the people regardless of situation and that’s our focus and that’s our goal,” Ward said.
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