With state elections over, the more localized races for seats on Madison’s City Council became more active Monday when two candidates announced they would run to be alders in two different districts heavily populated by University of Wisconsin students.
Former Badger Herald columnists Sam Stevenson and Kyle Szarzynski announced Monday afternoon they will both run for seats in downtown districts. Stevenson will run against current Ald. Bridget Maniaci for the District 2 seat on the Near East side, while Szarzynski will run for the campus-area District 8 seat.
After defeating long-time alder Brenda Konkel for the District 2 seat in 2009, Maniaci has received a great deal of attention related to her support for the redevelopment of the city’s Edgewater hotel and a variety of other proposals, including one that would restrict landlords from entering rented units until at least January.
After a toughly fought campaign on both sides, local political observers began to speculate Konkel would run in 2011 to retake her seat.
However, Konkel said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald she is still weighing her decision between running for office or remaining a private citizen and maintaining her blog, which records city meetings and promotes progressive values.
“I have not decided what I am doing this spring,” Konkel wrote in the e-mail. “Now that the fall elections are over, I held a meeting with various folks and the answer is not yet clear.”
Konkel also said she may not announce her decision to either run for mayor, the District 2 seat or avoid entering politics again until mid-December.
Maniaci has confirmed she will run for reelection for her seat. She added she has anticipated she will face a challenge since she defeated Konkel.
“I have fully expected a challenge since election night,” Maniaci said. “I’ve had a highly visible first term and I believe that I’ve worked very hard on the issues that I’ve campaigned on, and I would very much like to continue serving as the alder in District 2.”
In addition to the Near East side, the campus area’s current representative on the City Council, Ald. Bryon Eagon, District 8, said he is still trying to decide if he will run for reelection. Eagon is currently a fifth-year University of Wisconsin senior.
Several other candidates for both seats are currently up in the air. State-Langdon Neighborhood Association President Scott Resnick told The Badger Herald he is still considering entering the race for District 8, but he is still undecided.
Resnick said his decision mostly hinges on if Eagon runs for reelection.
“It’s something I haven’t decided for sure,” Resnick said. “Quite frankly I’m waiting to see what Alder Eagon has to say about the matter.”
According to Michael Johnson, spokesperson for Szarzynski and Stevenson, both candidates do not have the official endorsement of local political party Progressive Dane but will run for the group’s approval in both seats.
The position of alder is non-partisan. If more than two candidates run for one seat, the city will hold a primary for that seat in February to whittle down the field to two, who will compete in April’s general election to win the spot.