Petersburg Mayor back in race after withdrawing

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – She was in, then out! Now, Mayor Annie Mickens has jumped back in the race for city council in Petersburg. The Mayor is mounting a campaign as a write-in candidate. This after she did not secure enough signatures to have her name on the ballot.

In June, Mayor Mickens announced she was dropping out of the race for city council in Petersburg. It's a move that eliminated her chance of being appointed mayor for another term. Less than two months later - an about face.

"The people in the ward have said to me they'd like to see me continue," said Mickens.

Mickens' name won't appear on the ballot, like the two other candidates vying to represent the 5th ward. She needed 125 signatures from voters in her district to be on the ballot. Mickens handed in more signatures than required, but a challenge to her petition disqualified some signatures.

"I've decided to move back in because the mayor is the face of Petersburg and I've been told that this face is the face we'd like to see moving Petersburg forward," said Mickens.

Now, Mickens is a write-in candidate.

"It's highly unusual for an incumbent to seek candidacy or office as a write-in candidate, highly unusual," said NBC12 Political expert Dan Palazzolo.

Palazzolo says Mickens is in for a challenge.

"It's much harder for a candidate, even as an incumbent, to get votes from people as a write-in candidate. Normally voters need to see a name on a ballot in order to recall the candidate's name," said Palazzolo.

Then there's another potential issue.

"Even if she does win the council seat it may be difficult for her to garner that coalition to become mayor given the fact she was somewhat reserved about running in the first place," said Palazzolo.

Mickens has been on city council since 1986 and has served as mayor since 2004. The election will take place in November -- shortly thereafter, city council will appoint a mayor.

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