With the primary election more than eight months away, banker Rodney Williams on Wednesday became the first to declare his candidacy in Frankfort's 2020 mayoral race. And while the former city commissioner’s early announcement may have come as a surprise to many, perhaps it shouldn’t have.
According to an informal State Journal poll conducted in late June asking which of the current city commissioners voters would most like to see run for the city’s highest office, nearly half of the 646 respondents — 292 — voted “None. We can do better.”
What does that tell us about the sitting commission? Is the public’s confidence in its elected city leaders waning?
Consider this. Katrisha Waldridge, who was elected mayor pro tem by her peers mere months ago after receiving the most votes in last year’s general election, was last in the SJ poll with only 61.
Fellow newcomer Eric Whisman, who was the top vote-getter in the SJ poll with 120, was third out of four elected commissioners in November’s election with 17.9% of the vote.
Former Mayor John Sower and incumbent Scotty Tippett were neck-and-neck in the admittedly unscientific opinion poll with 87 and 86 votes, respectively.
It begs the question of who, if anyone, on the current city commission will decide to toss their name into next year’s mayoral race, and whether two-term Mayor Bill May will seek a third consecutive stint before he reaches his statutory limits.
Now that Williams has officially declared his candidacy, we hope others will follow suit and give voters multiple options for mayor at a pivotal time in Frankfort's development. That's no knock on May, who has navigated the city through some choppy waters during his current term.
With the ongoing Capital Plaza redevelopment project, Downtown Master Plan implementation and the TIGER grant project, Frankfort voters deserve the opportunity to assess competing visions for the city. It will be interesting to see who else, in the coming months, is willing to join Williams in rising to the challenge.