One election down. Next up: a mayoral election in May, 2013, because voters in Richardson chose overwhelmingly to amend the City Charter to have a direct election of the mayor. No surprise there. Now the handicapping of the May mayoral race begins. After the jump, my early, wild speculation, unsupported by any evidence, just because I'm addicted to the horses.[Life] is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Source: William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
Expect Mayor Bob Townsend to retire, having capped his long service to the City of Richardson with a term as mayor.
What will Mayor Pro Tem Laura Maczka do? She inherited long-time mayor Gary Slagel's seat in 2011 and was a mildly surprising pick of the council for the mayor pro tem position. Assuming she wants the mayor's job (and why wouldn't she?) and assuming she can get the backing of the Richardson Coalition PAC (and why wouldn't she?), she has to be considered the favorite for the mayor's race in 2013.
Council member Amir Omar, currently holding the Place 7 seat that disappears under the new charter, has to find a new chair before the music stops in May. Expect him to want the mayor's chair. He has wide name recognition (he is literally everywhere -- and I know the meaning of the word literally), he has drawn establishment backing in his two previous runs for the council (as measured by endorsements by the Richardson Coalition PAC), and he might also draw support from the malcontents who got direct election of the mayor passed (he is the only council member to vote for direct election before the referendum forced the council's hand). Omar would be a formidable candidate. But will Omar run against Maczka, especially if she draws the Richardson Coalition PAC's endorsement? Omar has a safer option. If Mayor Townsend retires, Omar can run for the Place 1 seat that Townsend would be vacating. Just to make this imagined scenario play out the way I want, let's assume Omar prefers a safe council seat to a more iffy mayoral run.
Any dark horse candidates? None that my admittedly dim vision can discern.
So, if my speculation by some crazy chance would come true, the 2013 council will look very much like the 2011 council. The mayor will retire. Maczka will slide into the mayor's chair. Omar will slide into Townsend's Place 1. And the Richardson Coalition PAC will draft another candidate to take Maczka's Place 4.
All of this will have been decided long before the voters ever get a 2013 Voters Guide. Even the choice of mayor will have been determined, not by the voters, but by the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of politicians examining the political landscape and arranging themselves in a manner that leads to a predictable outcome. It turns out that city charter amendment elections are sometimes like Shakespeare's view of life, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Or I could be all wrong.