As the calendar turns to 2012 and the political calendar becomes focused on the presidential primary, over the weekend we had our first prospective 2013 Salisbury City candidate announce the possibility he would run.
That’s right – Adam Roop announced in January, 2012 for an election to be held in April, 2013. Roop made his statement before perhaps a dozen supporters according to a Daily Times story by Jennifer Shutt. The story presumes he will be running for mayor, but Roop made no firm commitment to a particular office. Bear in mind, however, that based on where Roop resides he would either have to challenge Jim Ireton to become the new mayor or District 2 Council member Debbie Campbell, whose term also expires in 2013. Neither Ireton nor Campbell have confirmed their desire for another term at this time.
As a point of comparison, I did a little research and found that Ireton announced his mayoral bid in November 2008, just five months before the election. In that 2009 race, Jim won a four-person primary over then-City Council Vice-President Gary Comegys, former City Council member Bob Caldwell, and 2005 candidate Mike Della Penna before again defeating Comegys in the general election. Out of that field, Comegys declined to run for re-election in 2011 due to illness, Caldwell was elected to County Council in 2010 before his death in October 2011, and Della Penna has finished well out of the money in both previous runs. In short, the time is indeed ripe for new contenders in the political arena.
But will announcing so early create a problem? There’s no question Adam Roop has a little bit of name recognition based on his real estate ventures, but he’s not nearly as well known for his community involvement – it’s a shortcoming he addressed in his statements. And if elected, Roop would be the youngest mayor Salisbury’s had in some time as he won’t turn 30 until June of 2013. By comparison, Jim Ireton will be 43 years of age by the 2013 election – still, that’s younger than any member of Salisbury’s City Council, where the current roster ranges in age from 46 to 62.
In my observation, Roop may have been better served by getting involved more in the community first before making an announcement. Certainly there is some lead time required in plotting a political campaign against an incumbent officeseeker but running for office is far more than putting together an attractive logo and hosting a gathering for would-be supporters. Yes, it’s good to know that one of those who may be running for re-election in 2013 will not go unopposed, but there’s such a thing as looking too eager to serve.