A canny politician with a keen sense of the electorate, the six-term mayor has no challengers this year. But Hieftje's success depends in large part on working with a supportive majority on City Council. And with contests in four of the five wards this summer, it's quite possible that what Fifth Ward candidate Vivienne Armentrout dubbed "the council party" could lose control of the city's agenda going forward.
The retirement of Hieftje allies Sandi Smith and Carsten Hohnke means at least two new council members next year--and, depending on the mood of the electorate, as many as four. The people who fill those seats may not be so ready to back the mayor on issues like the proposed new train station-transit center.
Ward 1: Kailasapathy vs. Sturgis
An accountant, Sumi Kailasapathy says she's the most qualified candidate, because the most important issue facing council is "prioritizing the budget. We have financial issues with revenue certainly, but we can still prioritize." She thinks the highest priority ought to be safety services: "We have to have adequate levels of police and fire protection."