Just eight months after the 2012 election, the 2014 race for Petaluma mayor is already heating up.
This week, Councilmember Mike Harris joined Mayor David Glass — who announced his re-election campaign last summer — in what could turn into a close battle for the Petaluma City Council's top seat.
"With other people already declaring, I wanted to get the message out there as soon as possible," said Harris, who is serving his third City Council term. This will be Harris' first attempt at the mayor's seat.
Glass previously announced he will be running on a campaign slate with former Mayor Pam Torliatt, who is looking to fill one of three open City Council seats. Glass will be seeking a third term as mayor. Aligned with the progressive party in town, he was first elected mayor in 2002. He was elected to the City Council in 2008 and then ran mid-term for mayor in 2010.
Glass said he is not surprised that Harris will be his opponent and is looking forward for the election season.
"It will be a good opportunity to define the issues," Glass said. "The voters deserve a good race and I'm glad to give them that."
Harris was first elected to the council in 2002. He has traditionally been popular with the business-friendly community in Petaluma. As the only registered Republican on the council, Harris says he's not worried about politics heading into the 2014 mayor race.
"There's no partisan way to fill a pothole," he said. "I think I've proven myself to be a consensus builder, someone who brings people together. While my focus will be the economy, I will always listen and advocate for those who see things differently than I do."
Both Glass and Harris have an established following in town and have been actively fundraising. According to campaign finance documents filed at the end of 2012, Glass had $8,200 in his coffers, while Harris had $11,300.
Even though it's early, both candidates are also lining up their endorsements. Harris has received endorsements from both Petaluma public safety union presidents — fire union President Ken Dick and police union President Paul Gilman — along with Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas. Glass said he has key endorsements, but declined to say who they were.
A total of three council seats, along with the mayor's post, will be up for election in November 2014. In addition to Harris, Councilmembers Teresa Barrett and Chris Albertson's terms will expire, though neither candidate has filed re-election papers with the city clerk yet.
(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at firstname.lastname@example.org)