Thursday, June 30, 2005

Target locked 

St. Cloud Mayor John Ellenbecker has decided to run for re-election here in St. Cloud. Most of the local pols of the liberal persuasion will clear out for him, but there's still talk state Senator Dave Kleis might run against him. Kleis is not saying anything about that until the Legislature finishes its work. Given Senator Kleis' preference for small government, the story today provides early ammunition should he choose to run:
If he's re-elected, Ellenbecker said he'll focus on the city's financial health and a capital improvement plan for big-ticket items such as new fire stations, a new public library and a campus-style government center.
That is, having already twisted arms to gain a half-cent sales tax to expand government, he now wants to increase spending on capital projects. Improving financial health probably does not involve reducing spending somewhere else.

The mayor, as I've mentioned before, likes to read the chat room at the St. Cloud Times, and is responding to posters commenting on this story (up over 185 today, which is the most I can remember.) If you want to talk with or debate Mr. Ellenbecker, there are opportunities available to you on that chat room. He responds frequently and hasn't been bashful about responding. Those posts are going to make some nice food for debates this fall.

One more point: Ellenbecker is frequently cited as a possible DFL candidate for US Congressional District 6, the seat Mark Kennedy is leaving to run for the Senate. (St. Cloud mayoral races, like many other municipal elections, are non-partisan.) There is nothing in this story to indicate he isn't still looking at the race, but it's quite obvious that a defeat in this election would probably preclude a run for the House. It will be interesting to see both what opposition is offered to take Ellenbecker down a peg and how much DFL sources are used to support his re-election.