JAMESTOWN – For the first time in two decades, the Jamestown Democratic Party finds itself seeking a candidate for mayor.
Last week, sitting Mayor Sam Teresi told a City Council work session he will not seek reelection. His 20-year tenure is tied for the longest in city history with Samuel A. Carlson, who served from 1908 to 1928.
City Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Walton told WNYNewsNow his party has heard from a few people who might seek the party’s nomination for mayor, but he isn’t being overwhelmed with interest.
“There’s not a groundswell, there’s not a line standing outside my door waiting to run for mayor,” Walton said. “We put a message out on Tuesday morning saying, ‘If you’re interested in that, you probably ought to call me.’ The phone hasn’t been necessarily ringing off the hook. We’re talking with some people and I’m hearing from some people that there are other people who have not contacted me.”
It may be easier to find candidates this year because there is no incumbent in the Mayor’s position, Walton explained.
“It’s difficult to find someone to run against a firmly entrenched candidate, that’s always difficult,” he said.
He also said it is difficult to get candidates who may be willing to run two or three times to get a position, adding candidates don’t always win on their first attempt.
However, the future may be bright for local Democrats with an active Young Democrats group in town, he said. Some millennials are active and say they hope to one day seek public office, he said.
So what does Walton look for in an ideal candidate?
“My management experience is I’m first looking at someone’s resume. I want to know what they’ve done, what they’ve been active in,” he said. “The resume is one of the first things we look at and how active have they been in Democratic politics.