"This office has to certify [each candidate]," Showalter says. "We encourage all of them to file early." Prospective candidates have until June 11 to apply with the registrar's office. This is the first year the elections will be held in November.
In December, City Councilman Sa'ad El-Amin announced he wouldn't seek re-election to his 6th District seat. And recently, the district's School Board incumbent, Frank Clark, revealed he would not run for that office.
What's a district to do? Well, at least in the case of City Council, there may be at least one person waiting in the wings: L. Shirley Harvey.
Those close to the former 6th District city councilwoman say she has collected the 150 signatures required to run. The freewheeling Harvey, who edits Richmond's Radiant Light tabloid and still attends council meetings usually as a critic could not be reached by press time.
Showalter says Harvey submitted campaign papers in January with the registrar's office. The papers report expenditures for a possible campaign. But so far she has done nothing more.
El-Amin, who has served on council since 1998, says he's heard Harvey will run. She challenged him unsuccessfully in 2000. "It would surprise me greatly if she doesn't," El-Amin says. "I've heard she's been working with civic groups and that's usually a good sign that she intends to run."
El-Amin predicts it will be interesting to watch what happens in the 6th District. "I suspect people are unsure of where I stand," he says, though he insists he's not changed his mind to run. "It does seem almost unheard-of for a council member well-received in his district not to seek re-election," he says. For now, El-Amin plans to see what develops. "Only in politics," he muses, adding: "Never say never."