Double Democrats

Is Howard Luken next?

by Melinda M. Jones

After weeks of hinting that he will run for mayor, State Senator Ben Espy officially announced his candidacy yesterday at the Franklin County Board of Elections. Espy, a Democrat, will run in a primary against Republican County Commissioner Dorothy Teater and City Council President Michael Coleman. Coleman was endorsed by the county Democratic Party on January 14. In the wake of the party's decision, Espy stated he would like voters to decide in a primary which Democratic candidate they like the best.

With Espy's announcement, voters will get that chance. When three candidates are on the ballot for mayor, a primary election is held to determine the two top candidates in the race. Because Columbus has a non-partisan mayoral election, the two top primary candidates, regardless of party affiliation, are placed on November's ballot. With two strong candidates like Coleman and Espy, Columbus could see an all Democratic mayoral race in November.

As previously reported by Alive, Republicans don't seem threatened by an Espy-Coleman battle. At the time of party endorsements, Barbara Lewis, executive director of the Franklin County Republican Party, stated, "It's something we're aware of, but we will try to work real hard to make certain there's a Republican on the ballot."

Meanwhile, the race may get even more exciting, complete with headlines screaming "Angsto for Mayor!" Howard Luken, producer of the controversial Angsto the Clown show on local cable television, said he may try to get on the ballot in the Columbus mayoral election. The deadline for filing the 1,000 signatures needed to get on the May primary ballot ended Wednesday, but Luken told Columbus Alive he may try to get enough signatures to be a write-in candidate.