Within hours before Mayor Gary Becker could be charged in Racine court, many of his political allies had already started plotting on ways to become the next mayor of Racine. If Becker's arrest prevents him from finishing his term, a list of candidates have already shown interest in tossing their hats into the race.
As expected, City Council President David Maack has already asked Becker to step down to clear the way for either an appointment to the position or a special election. "I think it would be in the best interest of the city of Racine," said Maack.
According to state law as reported in the Racine Journal Times, under Chapter 17.23, specifies that a mayoral vacancy would be filled “by appointment by the common council for the residue of the unexpired term unless a special election is ordered by the common council, in which case the person appointed shall serve until his or her successor is elected and qualified.”
Current alderman, Greg Helding, who has had close political ties with Mayor Becker says he is seriously considering a run for mayor if Becker cannot serve out his term. In the JT he said, “I have had family and friends and supporters encouraging me, and I am strongly considering it.”
Other people include a number of African-Americans who have shown an interest in running for mayor if the post becomes vacant. Becker’s recent arrest on multiple felony charges raises the question of whether he will be able to finish his term. His term was to run from 2007-2011. In most cases with that length of time before a regular election, the Council would most likely ask for a special election to fill the term.
Some of the African-American names mentioned have been fifth term Alderman/Supervisor QA Shakoor II. In the daily paper, Shakoor II said that he felt the timing was not right to launch an all-out campaign for mayor.
Former Ald. Keith Fair, who is in a serious battle to win a seat back on the city Council, said that he had been approached by a number of friends and supporters urging him to consider a candidacy. Although he would not rule himself out as a possible, he said his first commitment is to the people of the First District.
Another name that keeps popping up is veteran State Representative Robert Turner. "Representative Turner probably would get widespread support from the unions and the African-American community." Turner, who once ran for mayor has both the experience and connection in state government to bring valuable resources to Racine," said one of Turner's longtime supporters.
Insider News Publisher Kenneth Lumpkin believed that the next mayors path has to come through the African-American community. "This time black folks won't be sitting on the sidelines and not being heard," he states. He says he likes the name that has been buzzing for the past few years of Donnie Snow, who is the Director of Racine's Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department. He would bring a fresh approach and professionalism to city government. Snow, who also has served as Racine County Supervisor for over 10 years knows both County and city government. "I believe that Mr. Snow would make a great mayor of the city of Racine because of his no-nonsense leadership style," says his longtime friend.