Renaut Steps Down, Endorses McFall, Promises to Continue Working for Council-Manager Form of Government ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, September 11, 2009

Renaut Steps Down, Endorses McFall, Promises to Continue Working for Council-Manager Form of Government

Acknowledging his prospects for victory were lagging with just just a few days until the primary, Democrat Gil Renaut dropped out of the mayoral race and pledged his support to Trudy McFall, widely considered to be one of three Democratic front-runners.  At an announcement on the steps of City Hall at 1 pm today Renaut said, "As I have said before, this is not an ego trip for me--my concern is what's best for the City of Annapolis and to ensure that our City gets the best Mayor possible." He added that McFall "is the one candidate who has the experience in managing a large government agency."

(photo courtesy of EyeOnAnnapolis)

This difficult decision for Renaut could also be a fateful decision for the voting outcome. The other two front-runners in terms of visibility, campaign activity and fund-raising are Zina Pierre and Josh Cohen. The boost to McFall could have the most negative impact on Cohen, as he is a Ward One native, which is also Renaut's home turf, and Ward One is widely recognized as one of, if not the most politically active of the eight wards. Popular Ward One Alderman Dick Israel, who is running unopposed for re-election, has also been among the strongest advocates of a council-manager form of government, a major issue this election cycle and one that played an important role in Renaut's decision to endorse McFall.

Renaut and McFall have been among the most ardent supporters of the council-manager petition, while  Cohen and Pierre are the only two of the entire field of nine candidates who have not supported taking the vote to referendum. Independent Chris Fox and Republican Dave Cordle have signed the petition.

Renaut, who ran against current Mayor Ellen O. Moyer in a three-way race four years ago as an Independent (he was still employed with the federal government and had to remain Independent), was defeated by a margin of only 700 votes. If Renaut's support to McFall brings even a small percentage of those votes to McFall, it could swing what many believe will be a very tight race. His current campaign that just ended never seemed to get off the ground, although Renaut had recently appeared more comfortable, articulate and passionate. A retired federal trial lawyer, Renaut is a veteran civic activist and community leader who prides himself on being a consensus builder with excellent listening and mediation skills.

Renaut's campaign theme was Transparency, Outreach, and Policy (hey-that spells TOP!). His announcement today puts him at the top of the list for being realistic, decisive and for doing what he believes is right for the city, rather than being focused on himself. The big question of course, is how will it affect Tuesday and will it put McFall over the TOP as perhaps he is hoping?

McFall, who was present at Renaut's announcement said, "I believe that we share common goals for the City, including the need for a professional City Manager, and the belief that this City needs a complete change from the Moyer Administration."

Josh Cohen commented that, "When Gilbert was in the race, I believed I was the candidate with the strongest track record and the right approach to raise the bar for professionalism and civility at City Hall.  With Gilbert out of the race I still believe that. Gilbert has contributed to our community for years.  I wish him all the best and look forward to his continued participation in our civic affairs."

The Zina Pierre campaign did not offer a comment.

Join us every Thursday morning, from 8-9 am for our Sip N' Blog at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road, Annapolis, Maryland, in the Giant Shopping Center. Our discussion on the 17th will focus on the primary election results and the upcoming general. Sept-24--Jennifer Monteith. Stop by on your way to work for your morning latte and meet other local activists. Zu now has a drive-thru window!


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