Franklin — Jan. 7 is the deadline for candidates to file to run for mayor next year, and it may take until then for the race to take shape.
Mayor Tom Taylor announced earlier this month that he will not seek a fourth term. He told NOW he does not expect to endorse a candidate in the 2014 race.
Calls to several possible candidates found no respondent willing to declare a candidacy yet, but few were willing to definitively rule out a race either. Perhaps the closest to declare himself out of contention was Municipal Judge Fred Klimetz, who previously served two separate stints as mayor. Klimetz said he has received a few calls urging him to run again, and has considered a race, but added, "I think it's unlikely."
Eyeing the position
Common Council President Steve Taylor, who also serves as a Milwaukee County supervisor, called a possible mayoral race "something that I'm strongly considering."
Earlier this month Steve Taylor decided against running in a Nov. 19 special election to fill the vacant 21st District State Assembly seat. He said the chance of running for mayor was "one of the major reasons I chose not to run for the Assembly."
Steve Taylor said it will probably be at least a month before he makes his final decision about the race.
"I have two budgets I'm going to be busy with," he said, referring to the 2014 city and county budgets. "That will be my main focus over the next month, (not) my political future."
Taylor's 4th District aldermanic term expires next year, and he remarked that "it's very likely you'll see my name on the ballot for alderman, regardless of whether I run for mayor."
Shari Hanneman, a former Plan Commission member who has been active on several issues in the city, had considered running three years ago, but passed up the 2011 race due to an illness in her family. She said she's again pondering a run, but said, "I don't have any idea" how soon she might decide.
Former Alderman Steve Olson said, "I'm considering it, but that's as far as I've gotten. It's a demanding job."
Olson said he will have to determine how to balance family and business responsibilities with the demands of a race. But he sounded confident about his chances if he does throw his hat in the ring.
"I believe I could win if I chose to run, and provide a change in direction for the city," Olson said, citing economic development as one area.
Dual races hard to run
District 3 Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm also has a term expiring next year. Wilhelm is leaning against a mayoral race, but declined to rule it out.
"While residents throughout Franklin have asked me to consider the mayor position, I believe maintaining my current position will allow me to finish projects in progress," she said.
Wilhelm noted that the 3rd, 4th and 6th district aldermanic terms expire with the mayor's, a situation that "discourages experienced alderpersons such as myself" from running for mayor, she said in an email. Those council members must either relinquish their seats, or run for both mayor and alderman, and Wilhelm added that "simultaneous campaigning runs the risk of not effectively carrying either position."
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