A DECISION WHETHER Ripon should hold a primary to winnow down the number of candidates for a general election should be determined by a city ordinance, not by elected officials on a case-by-case basis.  								        Ian Stepleton photo
A DECISION WHETHER Ripon should hold a primary to winnow down the number of candidates for a general election should be determined by a city ordinance, not by elected officials on a case-by-case basis. Ian Stepleton photo

     ... Common Council members on Jan. 5 voted 7 to 1 to exclude the three-way race for mayor from the Feb. 20 spring primary ballot.

     Aldermen were unswayed by the argument put forth by the lone nay voter, Ald. Aaron Becker, that the contest for mayor should be on the ballot in February to reduce to two the number of candidates voters have to consider in the April 4 election, thereby assuring the winner will receive a majority and so have the political capital to lead the council.

     “Personally, I don’t like the idea of somebody winning with a plurality,” Becker said. “I think the mayor’s office is something important enough that the person needs to win with a majority ... I think it’s a very easy decision to make.”

     It wasn’t so easy for his seven colleagues, however, as they countered Becker with other concerns. ...

     The decision whether or not to have a mayoral primary is a fundamentally political decision with political consequences.

     One can argue that bypassing a primary could help the incumbent, as it divides the vote of candidates who think they can be a more effective mayor. ...

     To avoid a future primary-election decision that theoretically easily could become a political football, we also agree with [Mayor Gary] Will that the council should enact an ordinance to identify the number of candidates that automatically would trigger a primary election. ...
 
     The decision the council made on Jan. 5, albeit in good faith, is too potentially laden with political implications to leave it in the hands of politicians.                                                — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, including aldermens’ reasone for voting against a primary, see the Jan. 18, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.