by Bob Geary
One week down, one week to go in candidate filings for City Council. The race for the two at-large Council seats is shaping up. Mayor? Not so much.
In the at-large race, Lee Sartain's been making it clear that if he wins a seat, he'd like it to be the one held by incumbent Mary-Ann Baldwin. In other words, Sartain's cool with incumbent Russ Stephenson and is running against Baldwin.
Champ Claris (Robert Champion Claris to his friends), on the other hand, is gunning for Stephenson, not Baldwin.
No surprise in any of this: Stephenson, a Democrat, is the progressive incumbent; Sartain, a Democrat, wants to be the progressive challenger; Baldwin, a Democrat, is kind of in the middle; and Claris, a Republican, is a realtor clearly aligning with the developers.
One of our challengers is so impressed with our campaign, that she's decided to make it her own. Mary-Ann Baldwin recently re-launched her website and decided that our issues, like job creation and public transit, were areas she championed on Raleigh City Council.
However, her record is clear and we need to make sure the voters know that July 9th, 2009 was the first time in three years Mary-Ann Baldwin has talked about job creation. We need to let the voters know that Councilor Baldwin has sat on the board of Triangle Transit and allowed regional rail planning sit idle.
Mary-Ann Baldwin is going to remind the voters that she brought condos downtown and reopened Fayetteville Street. We need to remind Raleigh that she helped create zero jobs and stood watch over one of the worst public transit systems in the nation.
That's pretty clear, though I'm sure that Baldwin -- a pro-development Dem -- has talked about job creation on many occasions.
As for mayor, the local daily had it a couple of weeks ago that District E Councilor Phillip Isley was maybe going to tackle the four-term incumbent Charles Meeker, Isley, Republican; Meeker, Democrat. I didn't think so then, not that Isley confides in me, and I don't think so now, with Isley unheard from with just a week of filing to go. He hasn't filed for re-election in E. But he hasn't filed for mayor either.
Yesterday, Bonner Gaylord, a member of the Planning Commission, did file in District E. which he would not have done if Isley planned to run for re-election to his district seat. So I think we now know this much -- Isley is either planning to go after Meeker (imho, a suicide mission, which Isley certainly knows), or he's stepping away entirely, as he has often said he might do to focus on his growing law business.
I'll be doing something else for a week, so by the time I return we'll know how good a guesser I am. But my guess is, Isley's out.