KINGMAN - Jason Marino has effectively pulled out of Kingman's mayoral election, and is now hoping to run as a write-in candidate for City Council instead.
Marino signed a motion Monday to dismiss a hearing originally scheduled for 9 a.m. today, where he was expected to defend several dozen of his petition signatures against Mayor John Salem's allegation that they were invalid, due to the signers either living outside the city limits or not being registered to vote. A separate eligibility hearing for Salem's other challenger, Art Jones, is still set for 1:30 p.m. today in Judge Lee Jantzen's court.
Marino said his decision was sparked by an audit of his petition he received from the county on Monday, which led him to contact Salem's lawyer, Mark Sippel, to attempt to have the case dismissed.
"After reviewing my signatures, I realized I'd be 20 or 30 signatures short, and there'd be no reason to waste the mayor's time or people's tax dollars having a court hearing," he said.
That said, Marino cannot legally run as a write-in candidate for mayor, since the state's "Sore Loser" election law prevents candidates from doing so if they've already had their original petition rejected or withdrawn. Marino said he hopes to file as a write-in candidate for Council in the belief that he can still make a difference.
"I prefer to run as a write-in for mayor, if there's a way for me to legally do so, but if there isn't, I intend to file to run for Council, which I'm 100 percent certain I can," he said. "I feel that I want to help work with people and make a difference here, and if that's the only avenue that I can do that, then that's the route I'm going to take."
According to City Clerk Debbie Francis, any candidate wishing to file as a write-in must do so no later than 40 days prior to the election, which in this case is 5 p.m. on Jan. 28. Marino said he intends to file his nomination papers within the next 48 hours.
As a write-in, Marino will have to fight for recognition on a ballot that will already include five named candidates: incumbents Ray Lyons, Janet Watson and Richard Anderson, Erin Cochran and Allen Mossberg.
But Marino believes that his background as a musician, combined with his social networking skills may help him achieve what a more conventional candidate would consider a near-impossible task. After all, while he failed to get the 216 signatures he needed to run for mayor, the amount he did get was impressive, given his extremely limited timeframe of just one day.
"I really wanted and still want to be mayor, and that's not something I've given up on, but I understand there's a process for it, and I just didn't get enough signatures," Marino said.
"But the neat thing is, in 24 hours, I was able to get 180 signatures. It shows there's a lot of support out there for my ideas and what I want to do."