Nuanced positions don’t lend themselves to Twitter or Facebook status updates, so Mayor Tom Richards’ “I’m out, but…” press conference this afternoon will inevitably lead to more speculation and salivation around the November 5 general election.
It came out yesterday that two city employees, Molly Clifford, director of fire administration; and Gary Walker, communications chief, are involved in a campaign to elect Richards on the Independence line. Richards lost last month’s Democratic primary to City Council President Lovely Warren, but he still has the Independence and Working Families endorsements. Alex White is the Green Party’s candidate for mayor.
Richards said this afternoon that he has not campaigned post-primary and he would not do so — for anyone, including Warren. But whatever city staffers do on their own time, he said, is their own business. He said that nobody consulted him about the new campaign and that he has had no involvement whatsoever.
Richards said that he couldn’t come right out and say he wouldn’t serve if in the highly unlikely event he wins the general. Speculation is unhealthy, he said, and there are too many hypotheticals to be definitive either way.
“There are many different scenarios that could occur that would need to be addressed,” he said. “It matters how and by whom those decisions will be made. We should not, and really cannot, resolve these issues now.”
“I know that doesn’t satisfy everybody,” he said. “But you’re going to have to live with it.”
It’s clear that Richards blames the media for fueling this story.
“We’re really going to have to come up with some other news in this community to entertain you guys,” he said.
Richards said that he did want to be mayor, but that he didn’t need to be – citing the recent birth of a granddaughter.
“I want to be a grandfather more,” he said.
Asked if Warren would make a good mayor, Richards said that he would do his best to make sure that whoever is elected is the best mayor that he or she can be.