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Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006 04:30 pm

Only the beginning

Campaign season is far from over

On the first and third Tuesday of each month, 11 men and women decide how many sex offenders can live next door to you in Springfield, whether you can burn your leaves, where you can smoke, and which businesses will go up in your back yard.

Believe it or not, your representative on the City Council can have a greater impact on your daily life than the governor or the president will — and soon at least half of the council’s members will be new.

Four years ago, 19 candidates vied for the 10 slots on Springfield’s City Council. Assuming all the incumbents who are eligible to run again will do so, already more than a dozen individuals have indicated they’re going to run — and the filing deadline is still more than two weeks away.

Candidates can pick up petitions and start collecting signatures now, but the first day to file is Dec. 11; the deadline for filing is Dec. 18.

The five council members facing term limits are: Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil, Ward 4 Ald. Chuck Redpath, Ward 7 Ald. Judy Yeager, Ward 8 Ald. Irv Smith, and Ward 10 Ald. Bruce Strom. That’s two Democrats and three Republicans on the officially nonpartisan body.

One of the most interesting contests is shaping up in Ward 5, where incumbent Joe Bartolomucci will have to fend off challenges from former Springfield Fire Chief Bob Bartnick — who is expected to have the backing of Mayor Tim Davlin — and perhaps from dogged campaigner and outgoing Sangamon County Board member Sam Cahnman.

Also worth keeping an eye on is the battle for McNeil’s seat, which represents much of the city’s east side, often at the center of council debates.
Candidates may also start lining for the offices of the city clerk, treasurer, and mayor. Davlin is expected to seek another term, although he hasn’t made a formal announcement of his intent.

A primary will be held Feb. 27 to decide races in which more than two individuals are running, and the citywide general election is scheduled for April 17.

Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com

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