After the jump, considering the chances of Richardson having a Mayor Alan North.
Alan North is Golden.
North has going for him the three things any candidate for public office needs.
- His Base:
Alan North challenged the establishment and won. That makes him a ready-made hero to the Tea Party. He won't have to introduce himself. He could announce his candidacy for mayor and immediately count on the support of ~40% of the electorate. He'll only need to attract another 10% of the electorate and he'll be the next mayor.
- His Issue:
Alan North will forever be known as the man behind giving voters the right to choose their own mayor. He can ride that success to city hall. It's an easy issue to explain. It's a populist issue. It's untouchable -- who can argue against giving voters more power? Run against North and you can be made to look like you are running against democracy.
- His Money:
North already proved he's got a bank account large enough to get 3,051 signatures on a petition and that he's willing to spend it. Likely, he can self-fund an even more expensive run for mayor. Professional consultants are a given. Direct mail should be no object. Even television is not out of reach.
The counter-argument to a Mayor Alan North can't be dismissed easily. There are three things he will have to overcome to win a city-wide election.
- His Resume:
He has no history of civic involvement in Richardson. No boards or commissions, no PTA or Rotary Club, no nothing as far as I can tell. He did run for city council in 2011 but was mocked for being a man of mystery. He attended none of the candidate forums and responded to none of the candidate questionnaires. He's going to have to explain his past. He's going to have to convince voters that he knows something about the city and has the experience to be mayor.
- His Enemies:
Just as Alan North might have wrapped up 40% of the electorate by spearheading this referendum, at the same time he probably lost 40% of the electorate, too. Using a petition drive to make an end run around the city council is thumbing your nose at the city council and its establishment backers. The establishment has proven its influence in getting its endorsed candidates elected. In 2013, you can be sure one of them won't be Alan North.
- His Friends:
North's early backers tend to be the chronic complainers who see corruption and stink everywhere at city hall. You know the drill: city council members give away the city's money to business cronies. They violate state laws and the state constitution without fear of consequences. The city is going bankrupt building recreation centers and ball fields, running up unaffordable debt in the process. The outsiders lost every single council race in the last two elections, in part because voters couldn't recognize their own city in the over-the-top election campaigns run by the conspiracy-minded. North will have to distance himself from the extremists, if he wants to win election. Whether he even wants to distance himself is unknown.
So, there you have it. Alan North is Golden. Alan North is Toxic. Voters will either love him or hate him. The divisive world of politics has taken root in Richardson.