In May 2007, Havre de Grace witnessed one of the most heated mayoral races in recent history with four long-time city council members each vying for the position.
Two years later, Mayor Wayne Dougherty, who narrowly edged Gary Wasielewski for the city’s top spot, will be walking back into mayor’s office after a race that has consisted of simply writing his name on an application slip.
Dougherty is unnopposed in his re-election bid, for reasons not fully understood.
Furthermore, the usually highly-contested city council race has only 4 people running for the 3 seats at the dais, which is especially curious considering City Councilman Joe Kochenderfer announced he would not seek re-election.
Even with an empty seat on the city council up for grabs, only two people bothered to file to occupy it – Brenda Guldenzopf and Mitch Shank – who will face incumbents Randy Craig and Barbara Ferguson in a race for 3 city council seats.
City Councilman Jim Miller has anecdotal evidence the reasons for the low-candidate turnout may be related more to the economy than the performance of the incumbents.
“That’s a good question. This year with an open seat you would have thought there would be a large turn out of people wanting to file. Maybe the economy has something to do with it. Most of the former candidates and those that expressed interest in the past tell me that their jobs are keeping them busy and they don’t have time to do the job and do it right. I was sure at least one person from the Bulle Rock community would have filed. They are very involved with their community and a few were very vocal in the past,” Miller said Thursday.
Miller himself was prepared to thwart Dougherty’s re-election campaign with his own run for mayor, but for his own reasons, also pulled back before filing.
“As far as the Mayor, I guess people must think he is doing a good job. I thought about running against him. I went as far as filling out the application and writing the check. I wanted to wait until the last minute to file in case someone did step up. No one did as you know and after thinking about it long and hard, I decided not to put my self through the hassle. Part of my dicission was based on the fact that no one filed for Council. This will be an interesting year,” Miller said.
An interesting year, perhaps. An interesting election, unlikely.