Sunday, July 03, 2005

The quest for Ashvegas mayor

The following is cross-posted from my Ashvegas blog. Check it out for more coverage of local elections, and all things Ashvegas.

Folks, the filing has begun for Ashvegas City Council elections, and while a couple of nobodys came out on Friday, this month should bring some intriguing candidates out of the woodwork.

Go here to check the filings each day.

For right now, I'm just going to focus on the mayoral race. There's probably going to be a dozen or more people filing for council seats, but the mayor's race is always the most fun to watch. Just look at the war last time 'round between Charles Worley and Brian Peterson. That got dirty (Peterson's meet-ups with a hooker) and expensive (Worley spent $120,000, the most ever, to win his seat).

So I'm going to break down potential mayoral candidates and their chances of winning.

Worley will file again. It took him three tries to win the first time, and he's going to go for it again. Why is it so important to him? I don't really know, but it is. And the fact is he's got zero chance of winning. Why? His competitors will beat him over the head with the failed water agreement negotiations. The crumbling Ashvegas Civic Center. The steady development that continues to threaten some local neighborhoods. He's doomed to be a one-and-doner.

Former mayor Leni Sitnick will file again, I predict, and has a very good shot at winning. Why? She's got the charisma. She's the Bill Clinton of Ashvegas politics. (She hosted Bill Clinton at her home, by the way, when he was running for president the first time.)

She got nothing accomplished when she was mayor, but she was a good ambassador for the city, and she fit an image of a hippie-cool city that's on the brink. Progressive Democrats love her and are anxious to get behind a winner. (City elections are nonpartisan, but partisan divisions still matter.) We rate her at 80 percent.

Terry Bellamy will run again for mayor. She ran last time and lost in the primary. We give her a 30 percent chance of winning. She has done nothing to make a name, except complain about drugs in public housing. Her position on big votes changes, and she's earning a reputation as a politician who tests the waters of public opinion before voting. She's got too many people in her ear. No chance.

Joe Dunn has a 75 percent chance of winning if he files. He has said over and over that he's a one-term councilman. So that means he runs for mayor or he's out - or he's a liar. Many thought he would run for Buncombe commissioner, but he didn't.

Dunn is a straight talker who appeals to some of the older, conservative voters in the city. If it's Sitnick vs. Dunn, that's going to be a whale of a race. If it's Dunn vs. Worley, Dunn wins handily.

Brownie Newman got off to a shaky start in local politics. The first time he ran, he ran as part of a team ticket - he and Holly Jones. Holly got on the board, and he didn't. He was a weak candidate seen as an extreme environmentalist who kinda lied on his resume.

He shook that all off to win a seat on the board in his next try, and he has grown into his position. He came out a winner in the water negotiations, earning some respect from fellow council members, as well as commissioners. He's been steady. But does he have the steel to run, and win, the mayorship? It's 50-50.

Carl Mumpower, the most self-center member of Ashvegas City Council, has been doing everything right to set himself up for a run as mayor. He's worked side-by-side with city workers, and he has the TV and newspaper photo op coverage to prove it. He's slept in the city's rough public housing complexes. He's fought hard for police crackdowns on drugs in the projects.

But he did himself more harm than good by being the constant naysayer in all the water negotiations. He sent e-mail after e-mail across the city, slamming fellow council members and Bunc commissioners alike. If he runs (we don't think he will) he's got a 20 percent chance of becoming mayor of our fine city.

1 comment:

Screwy Hoolie said...

Great Post!

I'm behind Sitnick for Mayor. I believe that any mayor of Asheville must be able to bridge the cultural divides we've got. I look to the Council for getting things done and to the mayor for getting everyone willing to come together.