The political ascendancy of Laura Mitchell continues, apparently.
Laura finished in third, 122 votes behind first-place winner Terry Cohen, in the city’s March 1 primary but made up all that and more as she zipped by both Cohen and Tim Spies to win a four-year term on City Council. While it’s possible that absentees could push Terry Cohen into the top slot (13 votes separate Mitchell and second-place Cohen) the fact is that a woman who hadn’t even raised enough money to need a financial report in the primary beat out a field that was by and large comprised of previous candidates and well-financed challengers.
Perhaps the main ingredient in her success was her independence. It was no secret that Terry Cohen and Tim Spies were running as a Camden tag team, with several joint appearances and fundraisers. On the other hand, Muir Boda and Orville Dryden had a number of common financial backers and while they weren’t overtly running as a slate those allied with Cohen and Spies created the perception that Boda and Dryden were. Mitchell seemed as though she was the compromise candidate between the two camps, although as I revealed in my look at the last financial reports Laura had some prominent Democratic elected officials bankrolling her.
Still, Laura overcame some rumors dogging her and a campaign that was a little bit short on specifics to win a seat on City Council as the lone political newcomer. Tim Spies was successful in his second try at the brass ring and Terry Cohen won another four-year term.
So the Council appears set for two years, and the Camden neighborhood will be calling the tune. Look for a renewed push to get Mayor Ireton’s neighborhood housing initiative passed and an all-out war on the $96 million business of rentals to begin, along with a deterioration in town-gown relations with Salisbury University. The question now becomes this: is this the end of the 3-2 Council? I think it is, but that doesn’t bode well for the City of Salisbury.