Hot off the press - the Southwest Journal reports that Ward 10 candidate Lara Norkus-Crampton plans to officially drop out of the race. She will continue her role on the City's Planning Commission, and doesn't discount the possibility of running for City Council at some point in the future.
I have mixed feelings about this news. On one hand, I think Lara Norkus-Crampton is not the right person to represent Ward 10. While certainly involved and committed to the neighborhood, her views are often extreme, and reflect only the opinions of a small percentage of the Ward's residents. On the other hand, her exit leaves only two people left in the race. While I believe that Meg Tuthill and Matt Filner are both solid choices, I am uncomfortable with the lack of significant choice in politics at the local level.
I'm a little fuzzy on the current ins and outs of the DFL endorsement process; in the last City Council race there was no endorsement, leading to more options for voters and a more robust debate. With three plausible candidates in the mix it would have been more difficult for one candidate to get the endorsement. I'm not sure what it means to the endorsement process if only two candidates remain. While at this point in the game I believe both remaining candidates to be good City Council material, I still hope that the residents of Ward 10 - including those who aren't actively involved with the local political party - will have the opportunity to enjoy some actual choices.
Both Tuthill and Filner have promised to abide by the DFL's endorsement, should there be one. That means that the show could well be realistically over and done with months before the actual voting begins. Sure, there might be a Republican or a third party candidate, but they're going to have a hard time overcoming the Democratic nominee. Norkus-Crampton had also promised to abide by the endorsement, but at least in the meantime she offered an alternative view for the neighborhood, and her participation may have sparked some important debates.
I might not agree with much of Lara Norkus-Crampton's vision for Uptown, but I don't doubt her love for the neighborhood or her good intentions. I wish her the best of luck in her future non-City Council endeavors.