Lots of mayor candidates could have an impact in CR

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- The deadline to run for municipal office in Cedar Rapids is sometime in September. But the open seat for mayor is bringing out lots of candidates early. And Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett wouldn’t be surprised to see at least another couple of announcements.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett makes his re-election plans known. He will not run for a third term next fall.

Attorney Brad Hart, Council members Kris Gulick and Scott Olson are on the list as well as former police chief Gary Hinzman and former police chaplain Tim Pridegon. Earlier this week, Monica Vernon, a former council member and recent candidate for Congress, became the last contender.

Corbett, who announced he wasn’t running back in December, said he expected a number of candidates to announce early so they can look for supporters and financing. And if others add their names, the number running could approach the high point in recent city election history back in 1992.

That year, eleven candidates ran in a primary election for mayor following the mid-term resignation of long-time Mayor Don Canney.

Larry Serbousek, the eventual winner in a runoff, said he remembers the large unwieldy voter forums with so many candidates. He said his strategy in the midst of so many running was simply to make it past the primaries.

“We knew from that point on it was a two person race and that’s when you really step up the campaign,” Serbousek said.

Corbett said there are two current council members in the running along with a recent former members. And he knows at least two others on the council who are already backing one of the candidates for mayor.

What the mayor is concerned about for the future is making sure running for office doesn’t color regular council business.

He gave several examples, including the city staff recommendation in December to close Jones Park Golf Course for financial reasons. The mayor says if some on the council involved in campaigning fear offending golfers that might influence their decision.

He says if he sees any of that in the coming months, he’ll say something.

“That’s one of the things I’m going to protect and if I see it I’m going to send some warning signs to those participating in it saying this isn’t the place to bring your campaign into the council chambers,” Corbett said.

Corbett also said with the large number of candidates a runoff this year is very likely. That would mean city voters going to the polls again in December.