Once again, the city council elections tell us that incumbency is a valuable experience and surely a guarantee to re-election. We not only see it in local elections but we see it time and again in state legislative sessions where candidates recycle themselves back and forth between the State Senate and the House seats.
Personally, I am glad Jamison won his re-election bid. He has stepped forward and asked the hard questions while being belittled and demeaned by the mayor and it never deterred him from taking a contrary position knowing he was going to take a beating from a bully. Karsky's first election win is no surprise because he has the aura of "incumbency" surrounding him and he faced an opponent that never seems to catch on, no matter how many times he runs. Anderson's win is no surprise either. A nice guy who usually has not made a significant mark one way or another. However, it was nice to see a little feistiness in him during the Owens debacle. I hope he has finally found his independent voice and we see more of this behavior in his second term.
The at-large race, in my opinion, is what got what little turnout to actually turn out. The general consensus was if it was a low turnout, Staggers would be victorious and if it was a large turnout, Knudson would be the victor. I would venture to guess the 11% voter turnout for Buttemeier was related to a protest vote and not necessarily showing support for his candidacy.
To say Kermit Staggers is a conservative is an understatement. He is like the energizer bunny - he never quits nor does he ever go away. Some people like him because they say he scrutinizes city spending priorities and always says no. Well that is all well and good, but if he can't gain consensus among his fellow councilors, he will be as ineffective as he was during his previous 8 years on the city council. He accomplished nothing with his contrarian ways during his previous stint as a city councilor.
His return to the city council is more reflective of a mood these days regarding the mayor, in my opinion. Staggers stated he thinks the event center played a role in his victory but I think it goes beyond just the event center. I heard many times from people in the community that they were going to vote for Staggers because it would be good folly to see him be a cantankerous sore in the mayor's side.
Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the council race, one thing is certain. It will be interesting fodder for commentary. City Council meetings on the city's Channel 16 might get some new viewers.