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ted hess mahanAs I’ve said a few times before, I’m glad Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan is running for mayor because I believe democracies thrive from the public debate that comes when qualified candidates challenge incumbents.

I still feel that way. I’m  still glad he’s running.*

But here we are two months after Hess-Mahan announced that he was running  and one month before the preliminary election and Hess-Mahan’s actual campaign seems, well, invisible.

There’s no campaign website (Hess-Mahan told me last week that it’s coming).  There’s no campaign Facebook page.  And while I’ve seen plenty of “Re-Elect Setti Warren” lawn signs across Newton, has anybody seen a “Hess-Mahan for Mayor” sign? Has anyone encountered a volunteer canvassing or raising money on Hess-Mahan’s behalf?

What we have seen so far is someone who is using the media and blogs to criticize the mayor for, well, just about everything.

This maybe the right strategy this early in the contest.  Elections are referendums on incumbents. So if you’re challenging a popular incumbent (and Setti Warren is very popular) you’re going to need to define what’s wrong in order to get voters to even consider you.

What I haven’t seen is Hess-Mahan articulating his own agenda, visions and goals. Maybe that’s coming. Or maybe this is all Hess-Mahan has.

Which leads me to wonder: Is Hess-Mahan truly campaigning for mayor or just using the soap box that comes with being on the ballot?  What’s really behind his running? Is it genuine disagreement with the mayor? Is he setting himself up for a future election? A mid-life crisis? Or am I just being impatient, with a full blown campaign just around the corner?

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*This is not an endorsement. I have not endorsed any candidate for mayor.