SURPRISE! NOT A SURPRISE.
While it didn't have the shock value of some recent American Idol votes, Tuesday's primary election still proved that the electorate has a few surprises up their sleeves.
His council seat still warm, Commissioner Randy Leonard enjoyed an early Tuesday victory. Challenged by a squad of six neighborhood activists--most notably Mark Lakeman--Leonard weathered attacks that he was out-of-touch and bullheaded. Though the plan was for Lakeman's gang to rob Leonard by chipping away at his percentage points, Leonard rose to 53 percent by press time, allowing him to slide into another term.
Far more surprising was the heated battle between Position One candidates, Nick Fish and former Katz staffer Sam Adams. Analysts predicted this one too close to call, yet by late evening, Fish had a solid lead of 10 percentage points. Though both will move on to the November election, Nick has proven he knows how to play the anti-city hall card--leaving Adams with some obvious catching up to do.
THE MAYOR'S RACE
It's not shocking that the two candidates left standing in the race for Mayor Katz' seat is Jim Francesconi and Tom Potter--but who thought Potter would pull ahead? (Certainly not Francesconi who figured a million-dollar campaign kitty would pave a golden path to the mayor's office.) Though only four percentage points ahead of Francesconi at press time, Potter proved that name recognition and a small grass-roots campaign could beat a high-rolling political insider. Coming in at a distant third was Mercury news editor Phil Busse who successfully rallied much of the youth vote--look for both Potter and Francesconi to be sniffing around his door come November--followed by a fourth place finish for small businessman James Posey.
Now that the message has been sent to the Francesconi camp that money can't buy happiness or a mayor's seat, he'll have to quickly switch tactics to stop the Potter juggernaut from advancing even further. And though tonight was a solid embarrassment for his campaign, Francesconi is used to getting what he wants. The months leading up to November could turn very dirty indeed. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY