As I feared, the reform vote got split pretty badly and the incumbents and the establishment’s preferred alternatives dominated the primary election. Both incumbents, Mayor Heather Jackson and Council Member Nathan Ochsenhirt, did quite well despite their awful records in office.
Chris Pengra, the top mayoral candidate, and Bryan Free, a council candidate, also did quite well despite the fact that both of them often took an insider’s view of reforming the city. For instance, both seemed to be moderates in their approaches to reducing our city’s debt and both were very hesitant to discuss tough issues like exorbitant employee salaries and benefits. While they wanted reform, they were not as aggressive in their proposals as some of the other candidates who had stronger outside perspectives.
The only true outsiders to do well in the election were Adam Bradley and Tom Westmoreland (council candidates).
This election was really a wasted opportunity because if the reform vote hadn’t been split 14 ways, both incumbents would have easily lost in the primary and voters would have had much better choices in the general election. The real spoilers in this race were the individuals who filed to run for office but who did not campaign. If these individuals had stayed out of the race, they wouldn’t have siphoned away votes from the more aggressive reform candidates.