The official results are still being tallied, but it is safe to say that Mayor John Warford has won his bid for re-election, by a significant margin. The people have made it clear that they wish to continue on the same path Mayor Warford has paved for the last eight years.
Incumbent Bismarck Mayor, John Warford, has earned his third term as Bismarck’s chief executive officer against his sole opponent, departing City Commissioner Steve Schwab, in what was quite likely the region’s most heated race.
As a Schwab supporter, I’ll admit that I am somewhat disappointed of the final outcome, but I still respect the wishes of the voters and wish Warford a successful third term. Given Warford’s overall popularity and heavy advertising, his re-election certainly doesn’t come as a complete surprise.
The next four years will be a true test of Mayor John Warford’s leadership skills. Up until now, Warford has had a fairly smooth ride as mayor, assuming the position right at the onset of Bismarck’s single-largest economic boom. However, the boom is now coming to an end and the national recession is beginning to make its presence known to the region.
Many who voted for Warford did so with the expectation that he will continue the growth and development seen during his first two terms. If the recession continues to make its presence known, the next four years could prove to be a challenge for Warford in his effort to continue that expected prosperity.
Warford enters his third term amidst growing controversy involving several projects supported by him, including the Northern Plains Commerce Centre, legally challenged downtown incentive spending, and a proposed Civic Center expansion that includes a 1% city sales tax increase.
Despite these obvious challenges, Warford also enters his third term with an overall high approval rating and strong support amongst many citizens, sailing off of the prosperity seen during his first two terms. Warford is often seen a positive force with optimistic views of Bismarck’s future, which will indeed become increasingly beneficial to him moving forward.
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