The Republicans pick their municipal candidates on July 23 - only eight days from now. So far, they have no mayoral contender to take on Democrat Art Ward.
Everywhere I go, people ask about whom the GOP might tap to run. The only name that comes up time and again is William Stortz, who has won two mayoral races and lost just one, serving most recently from 2005 until 2007, when he voluntarily stepped down. He also held the post from the time John Leone quit as mayor to go run the chamber of commerce until Frank Nicastro led a Democratic landslide in 1993 that left the GOP reeling for a decade.
The Republicans, it must be admitted, aren't too crazy about Stortz. Some of them positively loathe him. But Stortz is the only Republican in the past quarter century to win the mayor's office - and he did it twice.
Sure, some of the other candidates were hopeless longshots, but some pretty good candidates have tried, too, and come up short, including Mike Werner's bid for a comeback in 1999, Whit Betts' run in 1995 and Ken Johnson's narrow loss two years ago.
It's hard to see why the party can't even find a candidate this year, at least since Johnson pulled the plug on his nascent campaign.
So Stortz may be the one. And the Democrats might wish, in the end, that it was someone else.
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