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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 06, 2017 8:20 pm

Councilman considering run for mayor

Crawford placing newspaper ads to get resident input

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford is considering a mayoral run in 2019 and is asking for public input on whether it’s a good idea.

A series of ads placed by the at-large Republican councilman will begin this weekend. Titled “Open Letter to Fort Wayne Citizens,” Crawford, 68, asks whether residents would support a mayoral run or if he should seek re-election to City Council.

“Dear Citizen, I plan to run again in 2019 for City Elected Office. I am deciding between running for either Mayor or City Council At-Large,” the advertisement states. “I would sincerely appreciate your input as to which office I could best serve the city of Fort Wayne.”

The ad encourages residents to respond to the questionnaire by mail or email. 

Crawford said he will definitely run for office again in 2019. The only question is which office. Crawford said he’s considered running for mayor in the past but didn’t want to give up his career as a doctor to do so. But that’s changed. 

“It’s kind of getting to a point now, if I don’t do it this time, I won’t do it,” Crawford said. “So I’d like to get as much data and evidence as I can, and I’ll be doing some other things as well to try to make up my mind.” 

Crawford was elected to City Council in 1995 but was voted out in 2007 after championing a public smoking ban. He also supported construction of Parkview Field and played a role in ending collective bargaining for non-public safety unions in 2014. Most recently, Crawford sponsored a successful proposal to increase Allen County’s local income tax by 0.13 percent. That increase took effect this month.

Regardless of what Crawford decides to do, he will be “quite a force to contend with in any primary,” said Steve Shine, chairman of the Allen County Republican Party, comparing the councilman as a candidate to an 800-pound gorilla. Shine cited Crawford’s years of experience in public service, as well as his ability to take politically unpopular positions if they ultimately serve a greater good, as reasons why the councilman would make a quality mayor. 

“He will be very well financed, very meticulous in his campaign and his efforts should he decide to run,” Shine said. 

Shine indicated Crawford’s mayoral run would be well-supported among area Republicans, as well. The party bench for possible mayoral candidates “is very, very deep,” with quality candidates, Shine said. However, he noted that a few potential candidates might set aside plans to run if Crawford took a shot at the city’s top executive office. 

“There is no question in my mind that John Crawford would be an outstanding mayor, even to the extent that several of the heavy-hitters who are thinking about running would have indicated that they may defer their candidacy should John Crawford decide to run,” Shine said. “Because of that, I am very pleased that Dr. Crawford is coming out at this time to further test the waters because there are some otherwise very qualified individuals who are waiting to see what he does before they jump in.” 

Mayor Tom Henry, who took office in 2008, has not yet indicated whether he plans to run for a fourth term. 

dgong@jg.net