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The Road to 10-1: Now We Begin

How to fit six dozen candidates into a one-pound newspaper

By Michael King, Fri., July 18, 2014

The Road to 10-1: Now We Begin

Mayor: The Big Three, et al.

The Road to 10-1: Now We Begin

There are currently six declared candidates to succeed Mayor Lee Leffingwell, although only three appear to have a realistic shot at winning: attorney Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, and Council Member Mike Martinez. Obviously reflecting "new" vs. "old," they also represent three different approaches to the office. Challenger Adler promises a "new way forward" based on his legal work, his legislative staff experience, and his engagement with nonprofits – although thus far he's been wary of declaring specific policy choices. He's taken pains to de-emphasize the image of deep-pocketed Downtowner, but is now promoting his record-breaking fundraising – a delicate balancing act.

Cole is the only woman in the race, historically a local advantage, and has a lower-key style than her opponents. She's pointing to her experience in education matters and city finances – the Betty Dunkerley legacy – and her spearheading of the Waller Creek Project, a major accomplishment that also opens her to claims of Downtown-centrism that reflects the 10-1 tension between the high-risers and the neighborhoods – an impression she attempted to overcome by her "House Party" 10-district tour.

Similarly, Martinez kicked off his campaign with a 10-district tour; he's emphasizing his long support for 10-1, his working-class roots, and his role in upgrading the city's economic development policies to better expand workers' rights and benefits. He's the public face of the rising Hispanic demographic – which can both help and hurt him with different voting blocs – but his firefighter background and work on the dais reflect the same kind of consensus-building approach of his two main rivals.

The three lesser-known candidates have each pushed single issues: traffic for musician-rancher Todd Phelps, campaign finance for mechanic-businessman Randall Stephens, and most recently declared, anti-fluoride for student-artist Nicholas Lucier. Together, they just might peel off enough votes to force a December run-off between two of the big three.

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