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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 08:16 am

Mayor plans fundraiser

Houston pledged one term

Mayor Houston is planning a fundraiser despite his pledge to serve only one term.
Patrick Yeagle

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston said he intended to be a one-term mayor when he ran for office two years ago.

“My plan is to serve four years and actually deal with problems,” Houston told the State Journal-Register while on the campaign trail in 2011.

Now, with more than $45,000 in his campaign chest, the mayor has scheduled a fundraiser for May 2 at the Illinois Association of Realtors.

As politicians are wont to do, Houston plays coy when asked if he is going to run for re-election. He described the May 2 event as a celebration of his second year in office. Cake, apparently, costs money, and so the event has a price tag of $50 per person and instructions to make checks payable to the Houston For Mayor Committee.

Is he going to run again?

“My plan has not changed,” the mayor answers. “I have approached this on the basis that I am doing this on a one-term basis. (W)e’re just going to celebrate the two-year anniversary.”

OK. Have you made a decision on whether to run again?

“I have not made any decisions,” the mayor says.

The May 2 event isn’t the first time since winning office that the man who said he intended to be a one-termer has held a fundraiser. In the fall of 2011, six months after Election Day, Houston collected $25,450 in campaign contributions, even though he had more than $46,000 left in his war chest after his successful run for office. He hasn’t raised money since then, save for a $300 contribution from Willis Logan, a top aide, early last year.

After paying fundraising expenses incurred in the fall of 2011, buying meals at the Sangamo Club, contributing to charity, purchasing such sundry items as Christmas cards and making a handful of political contributions, Houston had $45,300 in his fund as of March 31, according to records at the Illinois State Board of Elections.

By contrast, Ward 6 Ald. Cory Jobe, widely considered to be a possible candidate for mayor in 2015, had slightly more than $44,900 in his fund as of March 31.

Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards, one of the mayor’s most vocal critics, has more than $20,000 in his campaign fund and won’t rule out a mayoral run in 2015. He said that the mayor should give a direct answer when asked whether he will run for re-election.

“Mayor, you’ve already made the decision, here’s what you told the public (in 2011), let me play the tape for you,” Edwards said. “When you answered that question before, was it the truth? That’s the question.”

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.


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