With sources beginning to tell Tallahassee Reports that Senator Bill Montford may not run for Mayor of Tallahassee, some supporters of Montford are getting nervous about the prospects of a mayoral campaign by City Commissioner Curtis Richardson.
When word slipped out weeks ago that Senator Montford may run for mayor, those looking for change at city hall quickly coalesced around a potential candidacy. After City Commissioner Gil Ziffer withdrew from the mayoral race, the support for Montford became more public.
Barney Bishop, a local political activist and state-wide lobbyist, has been vocal in his support for the popular state senator:
Bill Montford is the only person that I know of who can ride in on the white steed and lead Tallahassee out of this morass of corruption that inundates our city. He will need help, of course, from the new commissioners, but Bill is unique in that he has earned the respect of his peers wherever he goes and both Democrats and Republicans listen when he talks.
Others, who did not want to go on the record, have offered similar sentiments.
However, now with rumors circulating that Montford may bow out, a number of his supporters fear that City Commissioner Curtis Richardson could end up as Mayor of Tallahassee.
Richardson has not been shy about his intentions. He told the local media, “I am waiting to see what happens with Senator Montford.”
Richardson has proven throughout his career he can win local elections, and therefore, presents a real problem for those who want someone outside the city structure as mayor.
Richardson has won elections for the Leon County School Board and for Florida House of Representatives.
More importantly, in 2014, he won a hard fought city-wide election for his current city commission seat against a fellow Democrat, Diana Oropallo. Oropallo had significant support from some city power brokers, but only garnered 40% of the vote, while Richardson received 52% and avoided a runoff election.
A large part of Richardson’s success is due to his likable personality, his support for neighborhoods in development disputes and the unwavering support of the African-American community.
However, critics point to his recent support of an internal hire for city attorney, his vote to water down of the city’s ethics ordinance, and his recent statement that there was “no cloud over the city” as evidence that Richardson is not the change that is required to clean up city hall.
Since his comments, Richardson has recommended that City Commissioner Scott Maddox step down amid the FBI investigation.
So now, Montford supporters are encouraging people to send emails and make phone calls asking the senator not to get out of a race he was never in, but a race most believe he would easily win.
There message, delivered with passion and a hint of desperation, is “you are our only hope”!