The Democrats’ leader is back from the Adirondacks and already burning up the phone lines to find a replacement for former City Councilman Carl Erikson.
Erikson resigned last Monday night, with an announcement that took his colleagues by surprise. The party committee chairman, Richard Naylor, was on vacation, and no one had gotten wind of the resignation in advance. So party officials hadn’t lined up anyone to take Erikson’s seat.
They have just six weeks to select someone, if they want that person’s name to appear on the ballot in the fall.
Republicans are already meeting with their top pick, but they’re also hoping the Democrats don’t pick someone in time. The ballot currently has two people — one Democrat, one Republican — running for two City Council seats. If the Democrats can’t put up a second name by Sept. 16, the Republicans will automatically win one of the two seats.
Naylor is confident that the Democrats will pick someone that the council will appoint in the next six weeks.
“We’ve gone to the bench a lot, but we’ve got a deep bench and we have a strong farm team,” he said. “We have people.”
He is trying to reach four candidates that he considers “exceptionally good.”
Three could replace Erikson’s financial expertise, he said. They include a lawyer/accountant, someone with a PhD in economics, and a small business owner. He’s also reaching out to a community human services worker.
He declined to give their names until he’d spoken with them. He needs to find out whether they’re interested, and then set up interviews with the Democratic leadership. He wants the committee to send a recommendation to the council within three weeks.
That would give the council three weeks — one cycle of committee and voting meetings — to make a decision. The past few appointees have taken much longer than that.
But this time, Naylor thinks they will move quickly because there’s a hard deadline. The county Democratic Committee must submit a certificate of nomination to the Board of Elections by Sept. 16, Naylor said.