Greg Jamison Making Mayoral Bid Official on Monday
Calling it the worst kept secret in Sioux Falls does a disservice to real secrets.
Greg Jamison plans to announce his formal bid for Sioux Falls Mayor at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Holiday Inn City Center. Nobody surrounding Jamison -- currently a state legislator -- has made any bones about the fact that he's running.
The former city councilor also ran for mayor in 2014 against then-incumbent-now-lame-duck Mayor Mike Huether. In losing that race, Jamison raised his profile, which had been a little sleepy leading up to it. He ran a credible campaign in just a two-man field, which meant he got a lot of attention and press coverage.
Since then, he finished out his council term, ran for and won a legislative seat and now returns to the fray once again.
(Full disclosure, Greg and his wife Beth are friends of mine as we all went to high school together, but I don't think that clouds my judgment in this space. I was also friends with candidate Jim Entenman's late brother when we were kids because we grew up two blocks from each other. That's just how it goes around here.)
Does Jamison have a chance?
At this point in the race you have to consider him among the handful of candidates who have a chance to make the run-off. There are eight total so far with a fairly clear demarcation between top and bottom half.
NOTE: It's still very early in this process to make bold prognostications so we'll settle for timid prognostications. The first round of the election is April 10 and the run-off is May 1.
Here's my quick assessment as of today, based on early impressions, conversations with City Hall watchers, my guests and my gut instinct from covering city politics for 25 years.
- Former television reporter, small business owner (Mud Mile Communications and DooGooders) and advocate for victims of childhood sexual abuse, Jolene Loetscher.
- Former city councilor, business owner (J&L Harley-Davison) and campaigner to build Denny Sanford Premier Center, Jim Entenman.
- Business owner (Click Rain) Paul TenHaken.
- Greg Jamison is also a business owner (Jamison Advertising) in addition to his political experience.
Now the bottom half, for now:
- Former city councilor and financial analyst at Wells Fargo, Kenny Anderson Jr.
- Business co-owner and manager (Parker's Bistro) and son of a former U.S. Senate candidate, Nick Weiland.
- City government watchdog and data programmer, David Zokaites.
- Retired boat mechanic and former business owner, Mike Gunn.
As I noted, that's how a lot of people see it right now but it's all subject to change.
Jamison benefits from name ID as both he and his late-father, Bob Jamison, have a long history of service in the community. Connections in Republican political circles and experience building and running a campaign.
The challenge is who will make the run-off? Early odds suggest Loetscher has a good chance as she's the only woman and she has decent name ID.
The question is who comes out of the pack of white, male, businessmen of Jamison, TenHaken and Entenman. That's going to come to down to organization, funding and who can attract a unique consituency. (I know, pretty vague and basic, but there's time for more.)
Is there a dark horse in all of this? Maybe Anderson, but he'll have to show more organizational ability and assertiveness. Weiland? Could be but he's new to city politics and nobody really knows him beyond his famous father, Rick.
That's all for now. More on Monday.