The race to fill the Mayor’s seat is beginning to heat up.
Former longtime City Commissioner and Mayor Scott Newton, 62, has filed paperwork to run for the open mayoral slot in the Nov. 3 election. But Newton isn’t alone.
Commissioner Julie Carson, 58, recently changed her paperwork to indicate that she too will run for mayor. Carson had initially filed paperwork to run again for her current commission seat.
The mayor’s seat is currently vacant because former Mayor Justin Flippen, 41, died unexpectedly Feb. 25 of a brain aneurism while en route to a City Commission meeting.
Commissioners on March 10 voted not to hold a special election or appoint a temporary replacement for Flippen before the upcoming November election so his seat will remain empty until then.
At the time of his death, Flippen was the only person who had filed to run for mayor in the upcoming election.
Two 4-year Commission seats, occupied by Tom Green and Julie Carson are also up for election. Green, who is vice mayor, is not running for re-election.
“When times get tough it’s a whole new ballgame. I want to do what is best for the city,” said Newton, who served as mayor from 2004-2008 and Commissioner from 2000-2004 and 2010 to November 2018. “I feel I can help the city get through some of the tough times and do some of the things that have to be done.”
Newton believes a recession is coming and said the city is going to need someone who can make tough decisions, much like he had to make in 2007-2008 during the last recession.
The longtime city resident was the only straight member of the commission when he was defeated in November 2018.
“I think the next few years will be tough. It’s not going to be meek and happy,” Newton said.
Carson said she decided to run for mayor in the wake of Flippen’s death to carry on his legacy.
“After much thought, I decided the best way I could serve constituents was to run for mayor and to carry on Justin’s legacy and to carry on many of the ideas we charted in our work together,” Carson said. “One of the concepts is moving forward without disruption. It’s very, very hard. (Justin) was a consensus-builder. We must continue to move forward, bridge the gaps and operate in way that is consistent with a cohesive, collegial, legislative body that we are.”
Carson was appointed to the commission in November 2008 to complete the term of a commissioner who resigned, serving until 2009. She was elected in 2010 for a two-year term, and re-elected in 2012 for four years and again in 2016 for four more years.
Political newcomers Michael Bracchi, 43, and Chris Caputo, 38, have also announced their intentions to run for the commission.