At least one more candidate has entered the race for one of the two Alpena Municipal Council seats up for election in November.
After current councilman Shawn Sexton and former councilman Mike Nunneley officially announced their candidacy Tuesday, Steve Gilmore filed to make a run at one of the positions as a write-in candidate. Unlike Sexton and Nunneley, Gilmore is going to have to rely on the voters to fill in his name on the ballot, while the other two men will have theirs listed.
Gilmore said he had a plan in place to be appointed to a city committee to gain some experience, but when he found out there were only going to be two candidates on the ballot for the pair of seats, he said the public deserved more options. He said Nunneley's decision to run so soon after he was recalled also played a role in his decision.
"It hit me out of the blue that there were only two people running. I was floored. My plan was to seek a seat on a committee for four years or so then run," Gilmore said. "I also had a slight issue with Mr. Nunneley running. I'm not the type of person to tell someone they shouldn't run, I just wonder if he should at this time. I have my concerns about that and I decided to run and at least try as a write-in candidate."
Gilmore said he knows it is uncommon for candidates who don't have their names on the ballot be successful in an election, but he said he plans to campaign heavy and share his views about city's issues as November approaches. He said Alpena's water and sewer issues are one of the troubles he believes needs to be addressed, and he pointed out the possibility of the county having unmanned aircraft development at the airport could bolster the city as well.
"I'm going to have signs out and I will be door-to-door a lot and get my message out," Gilmore said. "Right now we have failing infrastructure. We have a clearing pond being worked on now, with another next to it that needs work. We have an intake that may need to be extended because of the low water levels, so these are things that need to be addressed. The drone project, I think will also be a real positive for the city, and I think it is going to happen."
Gilmore said Nunnely's qualifications and experience make him more than able to serve on the council. He said now is not the right time for him to do so. He said the wounds caused from the recall of Nunneley and former council member Dave Karschnick are still not healed. He said if Nunneley were to win a seat, it could lower the moral of the new members on council, the city staff and the community.
"The attitude I have seen over the last seven or eight months seems to have changed. There seems to me to be more of a positive outlook about the city," Gilmore said. "What I'm worried about is the possible step backwards. Mr. Nunneley is more than qualified, but I think there will be a perception that the city has taken a step back. I think it is just to soon for him to run again. There hasn't been enough time for the community to heal since the recall."
Gilmore said he expects there will be others who will come forward to run as write-in candidates. He said although it would hurt his chances of winning, it would be good for the city.
"I hope there are more citizens that come forward, because it will be a more broad choice for the voters," Gilmore said. "I think it will be healthy to have more to choose from than just the three of us, or just the two of them."
The deadline for write-in candidates to file their petitions is Oct. 25.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.