Rhoads fires first

April 10, 2013 

It’s an announcement many of us thought would be coming any day now – Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads is running for re-election.

And while the first-term mayor cannot officially put his name in blood until December, he’s following the same pattern that served him well when he announced over the summer in 2009 that he would be taking on then-Mayor Karen Messerli.

The early declaration proved a boost for Rhoads back then.

This time, the political climate is a bit different.

Messerli was a longtime political player, just as Rhoads is. But she was vulnerable. And Rhoads was able to deftly navigate those political waters, delicately point out what he felt like was the deficiency in the mayor’s office, and win the election without anyone disliking the likable councilman.

That took some skillful maneuvering.

That which made Messerli susceptible during the election four years ago doesn’t seem to plague Rhoads today. But that doesn’t mean his detractors won’t find something.

Rhoads’ tenure as a mayor has been vastly different than his predecessor. Some like that. Some don’t.

Still, it’s those differences that brought him into office in the first place.

Now we have to wait and see who else feels the need to sit in the mayor’s chair in Lee’s Summit.

A few current councilmen have been rumored to be interested – Allan Gray, Bob Johnson and Ed Cockrell among them.

And there always seems to be a wild card or two in the community that is willing to put up a race for the top spot.

All will face a challenge in running against Rhoads. Not insurmountable, but a challenge nonetheless.

The recent bond issue for roads and arts passed by wide margins, so that can’t be a political hot potato in this upcoming mayoral election.

Governing from the dais takes many different forms, and, perhaps, challengers could attack Rhoads for his relaxed demeanor.

Whatever happens, we’ve seen a mayoral announcement now with still a full year to go before the election.

In political terms, being first out of the gate does count for something.

Now we have to keep an eye on who is second and third, and so on, and how they position themselves to run against Rhoads.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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