Although there may be candidates for City Council who have yet to announce, the Housing and Building Association has decided to go ahead and interview the ones that have.
On Thursday, the organization interviewed at least four announced candidates: Jim Bensberg (District 3), Tim Leigh (District 1), Angela Dougan (District 2) and Jill Gaebler (District 5).
It’s a truism in local politics that, although it’s possible to win a race without the HBA’s backing, it’s a lot easier with it. The HBA brings experience, campaign savvy, and the enthusiastic backing of hundreds of sophisticated, reasonably solvent members. Their support in turn brings candidates legitimacy, business credibility, and campaign contributions.
Those factors are especially important in district races, and vitally important for candidates with low name recognition.
Think candidates don’t recognize this? Think again. Even Dougan and Leigh, neither of whom are likely to face opposition in April, apparently thought the interview process important enough to ditch part of Thursday’s Utility Board meeting. Both were interviewed Thursday afternoon. Leigh missed most of the Board’s open session, while Dougan was absent for the closed session during which the Board discussed the threatened Sierra Club lawsuit.