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Incumbents weigh re-election bids

By Staff | Feb 16, 2013

Seven months before the municipal primary, the mayor and a Cape Coral city councilman have already indicated their intention to seek re-election.

As of Friday, Mayor John Sullivan and District 4 city council incumbent Chris Chulakes-Leetz have announced another run for office.

In District 6, Councilmember Kevin McGrail is expected to announce his intention to run for a second term by the end of the month, while District 1 representative Marty McClain is still undecided.

The qualifying period for candidates will go from July 1-5, with pre-qualification to take place at the city clerk’s office from June 17-28.

The city’s primary elections will be on Sept. 10 and the general election on Nov. 5.

Early voting will take place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7 for the primaries, and from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 for the general election.

Chulakes-Leetz, who announced his candidacy shortly after the new year, has been out in the community attending association meetings and being available on his city cell phone. He’s also holding monthly Town Hall meetings, the next of which is Feb. 23.

“There is no elected official who doesn’t consider the electoral ramifications as he moves through his period of service,” Chulakes-Leetz said. “Like working at a job with Caterpillar, and you want to remain the foreman you would have to show you have the ability to be the foreman.”

Chulakes-Leetz said he will seek as few donations as possible because he “can’t think of a greater waste of money than political campaigns.”

Chulakes-Leetz has encouraged other candidates willing to debate the issues to attend his next town hall meeting next Saturday at 10 a.m., at the Cape Coral-Lee County Public Library.

One candidate, Richard Leon, did his required paperwork and announced his candidacy just three weeks ago for a bid to unseat Chulakes-Leetz. He has already gotten out in the community and he says he is pleased by the early support he has received.

Leon is now beginning to organize his campaign, as well as some fund-raising events.

“The money has been pretty good. The community loves the fact I am running,” Leon said. “They want to see a new councilman, and it’s great.”

As for the mayor, he said it’s still early. He has filed his paperwork and not much else because, well, he has a job to do.

“As an incumbent, a lot more of my time has to be devoted to here. I can’t drop what I’m doing so I can win another term,” Sullivan said.

That should change once spring and summer arrives and more people make their intentions known

“I’ve laid out a few things, but have I seriously started working on it? Not yet,” Sullivan said. “When I ran the last time, there were five in the race. I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen again.”

So far, Sullivan has one challenger. Vincent Cummings started his mayoral campaign not long after the last voter waited six hours to cast his/her ballot.

Cummings said he has generated interest, and funds, about $13,000 so far.

“I can allow myself to be accessible and engage this as a full-time, big-city mayoral candidacy,” Cummings said. “I’m engaging with community groups. The money I’m raising I’m investing in the community. I am sponsoring events. I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”

McGrail is expected to declare his intent to run for a second term by the end of the month, and didn’t say more than that.

Meanwhile, District 1’s Marty McClain said he is still undecided as he is trying to decide whether he can devote the time to both his business and to city council.

“I’m fine, but it’s exhausting now that business has picked up,” McClain said. “It’s a big commitment worthy of the time it takes to do it. I’ll have a decision to come in the next month or two.”

Districts 1 and 6 do not have any challengers yet.