By Charles Sercombe
The countdown has begun for this year’s field of political candidates running for local office.
As of Thursday, the day The Review went to press, there were 18 candidates who have either pulled petitions or have turned them in.
Anyone thinking of running for city council or mayor has until next Tuesday (May 14) to file a petition. Candidates who may have second thoughts about running have until May 17 to withdraw from the race.
So far, one would-be candidate, Mark Hausner, who is a member of the DDA, withdrew his petition for city council.
Councilmember Tom Jankowski has yet to pull a petition for re-election. But don’t hold your breath because Jankowski says he’s not running again. Jankowski has previously served one term as mayor, and is finishing up his first term as a councilmember.
The reason for his departure?
“It’s a personal decision,” he said. “It’s basically a matter of time and how much time I can contribute to the city.”
As for a possible return to public office in the future, Jankowski said “anything’s possible.”
His step down from the council means his seat is wide open for grabs, making a total of four seats in the running.
One of the seats, however, is only for two years, as opposed to the normal four-year term. That’s because Councilmember Cathie Gordon has resigned from her seat to run for mayor.
She doesn’t actually leave the council until Dec. 31 of this year, at which point the winner of that election takes over.
As of Thursday, there are three candidates who pulled petitions for the two-year seat, with Beverly Tran being the only one to file for it.
Councilmember Mohammed Hassan pulled petitions for both council seats as well as for mayor. He decided to run for mayor.
The field for the mayor’s position includes Councilmember Abdul Algazali and Review Publisher John Ulaj.
Mayor Karen Majewski is seeking re-election but has yet to file. She is in her second term as mayor.
Councilmember Gordon also has yet to file for the position despite having already resigned from council.
For political junkies, this year’s election promises to be an exciting one. The Bengali community, which has proven to be the dominate voting bloc in recent years, will likely be the deciding factor in who survives the August Primary, and ultimately, who takes office.
The question is, will the strength of the Bengali voting bloc prove to be a slam dunk, or will it be edged out by other voters?