At least five men are eyeing the possibility of running for mayor on the Republican ticket this year, including a former state House minority leaders, a former mayor and one of the party’s two city councilors.
The chairman of Bristol’s GOP, T.J. Barnes, said Friday that he has been talking with potential contenders for awhile after getting word that Ken Johnson might drop out of the race.
Johnson told the Republican Town Committee on Monday that he could not run this year, as he expected, because of personal reasons. That left the party without a standard bearer for this year’s face-off with first-term Democrat Art Ward, who is seeking reelection.
Barnes said that among those who are weighing a run against Ward are former state House Minority Leader Edward Krawiecki, Jr, city Councilor Ken Cockayne, unsuccessful council contender Joe Geladino and Lenny LaMothe, a park department employee. Others are also considering it, Barnes said.
“We’ll probably have a mayoral candidate out there in the next month or so,” Barnes said.
Former Mayor William Stortz, who held office in the early 1990s and again from 2005 to 2007, may also be weighing a run.
“If Bill wants to run for mayor, he knows the process,” Barnes said. “If he wants to, he can throw his hat in the ring”
Asked Friday if he planned to run again for the city’s top job, Stortz laughed, as he has before when questioned.
“Always smiling,” Stortz added, content to leave the issue up in the air.
Ward said he fully expects to face a Republican challenger this year.
“I’d be very, very surprised if they didn’t have a candidate,” Ward said, adding the political system requires that voters have a choice.
Barnes said he anticipates his party will have a full slate of City Council candidates this time around.
He said that “a lot of unsolicited people” are talking to him about potential campaigns. They hail from all three council districts, Barnes said.
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