With too few candidates, there are 'interesting' times ahead for Kingman's City Council

Mayor Monica Gates and Vice Mayor Jen Miles

Mayor Monica Gates and Vice Mayor Jen Miles

KINGMAN – Only two candidates turned in their nomination petitions by deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday, but with three City Council seats up for grabs in the coming election, Council could once again have a council member who is appointed rather than elected.

Ryan Dooley and SueAnn Mello Keener were the only two Council candidates who turned in petitions. However, the seats of councilmembers Stuart Yocum, Vickie Kress and Vice Mayor Jen Miles are all vacant. Mayor Monica Gates and Miles both submitted their petitions for mayor.

Sydney Muhle, City clerk, explained in a press release that if one or more of the seats remains unfilled after the general election Nov. 6, the new Council would fill them through appointment after terms begin Dec. 4.

“I think that’s always challenging,” Gates said. “When you appoint someone to fill the rest of someone’s term, people always question, “Well you apply to be on Council, but you didn’t go walking around collecting 570 signatures. Is it an even playing field?”

“But it will not be a new type of position,” Miles said of Council being in the position of having to appoint a council member. “As I’ve said, in my own experience, there have been three (appointments) and that’s in five years.”

Miles was appointed to a Council seat before deciding to run later on.

“I’ve been through it before with myself. I was actually appointed for the first year of my council term, this is my fifth year,” she said. “The first year there was an opening, we had 16 applicants for that opening, which really shows how amazing it is that we only have two applicants right now for three seats.”

Since then, two individuals have been appointed to council, Kenny Dean and Vickie Kress. Miles wonders if the amount of signatures required, nearly 600, may have deterred some from seeing the process through to the end.

The situation with Council doesn’t mean Dooley and Keener can rest easy in thinking they have a guaranteed spot on Council, Muhle explained. Write-in candidates are permitted for both the primary election Aug. 28 and the general election.

“Those wishing to qualify as write-in candidates must submit a declaration of qualification to the City Clerk’s Office no later than 5 p.m. 40 days prior to the election in which they intend to run for office,” Muhle wrote in the release.

Write-in candidates must also file a financial disclosure statement at that time, and as the title would suggest, their names will not be on the ballot.

“I’ve never seen the write-in ballot process, so this should be interesting,” Gates said.

She then posed a hypothetical question.

“So my question is, you’re telling me if I get 10 write-in votes, and I’m the number one write-in vote getter, I’m on the (general election) ballot? So I don’t know. It’s going to be very interesting.”