I found this quite interesting.
In doing a little research for another project I found that Jim Ireton had established a state campaign account called “Ireton for Maryland.” Bear in mind this was done way back on May 17, shortly after he won another term as mayor of Salisbury. The account appears to be a continuation of “Friends of Jim Ireton” established in 2006 and closed earlier this year; an account which was probably established for Ireton’s 2006 campaign for the Democratic Central Committee, where he finished seventh and last. (Fortunately for him, that was good enough as seven spots were available.)
So it could very well be that Ireton is just getting his ducks in a row to return to the Central Committee, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. It’s interesting to notice, for example, that he is literally one house into Norm Conway’s District 38B (and by extension, Jim Mathias’s Senate district.) While indications are that both Conway and Mathias are seeking re-election, the fact that Jim is sitting on a small pile of money from his leftover city election could mean a challenge – but I doubt it.
If I were to guess, the reasoning behind the setup of the campaign account was twofold: if, as some pointed out, Ireton was on the short list for a lieutenant governor’s spot under Doug Gansler it would have provided another funding source for the Doug Gansler ticket (Subsequent rumors seem to indicate Gansler is looking elsewhere.) If not, it turns out to be a convenient place to park money for a future mayoral run or give to other candidates. Ireton had $2,188.71 remaining in his city election account to transfer out once he filed his final report a few days late in May. (It’s the first in the series of financial reports here.)
So the question truly becomes that of ambition: how far does Jim Ireton want to go in his political career, and how soon? While it’s certainly possible he could win a race for County Council, it wouldn’t be a step forward. Much on a local level depends on the 2014 plans of Delegate Conway, State Senator Jim Mathias, and Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt; county executive would be the most natural progression from mayor. But Jim also has to balance any ambition with the fact that his own re-election campaign would be right around the corner, as all city positions will be contested in November, 2015. Frankly, Ireton’s reality hasn’t lived up to his rhetoric in Salisbury, but at the age of 43 he still has several years of politics ahead of him.
And given that much of his local money came from sources away from Salisbury, it’s doubtful his goal is to be mayor of a sleepy small city forever. The question is where he will turn next.