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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 22 2009

Walaker says he's almost sure he'll run for second term

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker says he’s almost sure he will run again for the city’s top office in the June 8 election.

“I can’t answer it 100 percent, but I’m in the 90s right now,” he told The Forum this past week. “Right now, I’m leaning toward it heavily, and unless something comes up between now and January … I can’t imagine what that would be; I’m pretty positive now that I’m going to seek a second term.”

Walaker, the city’s mayor since 2006, is already shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with.

City commissioners Brad Wimmer and Tim Mahoney, whose seats both are up for grabs, hint they would consider a run for mayor in 2010, but only if Walaker doesn’t run again.

“I’m going to run for one of the seats. If he (Walaker) runs, I guess I’ll run for a commission seat,” Wimmer said. “I will throw my hat in the ring after the first of the year for something.”

Mahoney said if Walaker wasn’t running for mayor, he’d consider that post, but Walaker is a friend and he respects him.

“I’m up for commissioner, and that’s what I’m going to run for,” Mahoney said.

“Deputy mayor is fine for me,” Mahoney said.

Commissioners Dave Piepkorn and Mike Williams are not up for election this next year. Piepkorn won his first term on the commission in the last election, and Williams was re-elected at that time.

Piepkorn said he’d consider running for mayor if Walaker decided to step down, but he doesn’t think that will happen.

“Flood control is his passion, and I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t run again,” Piepkorn said.

“I love being a city commissioner, and I anticipate being in my position,” he said.

As for Williams, he said he was in mid-term and “hadn’t really thought about” a run for mayor.

Walaker said there are opportunities to do some good things the next four years. The item likely topping that list is the possibility of seeing the start of construction on a diversion channel to protect Fargo-Moorhead from Red River flooding.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life if I don’t (run for mayor),” he joked. “My wife is not ready to give up her grandchildren yet. So, I’ve got to find something to keep me occupied.”

Candidates can begin filing Jan. 11, city Auditor Steve Sprague said. Filing closes at 4 p.m. April 9, he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583