Former La Crosse mayor to run for office again

Published On: Dec 05 2012 01:18:42 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 05 2012 11:41:16 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Eight years after leaving the mayor's office, John Medinger said he's running for the seat once again.

On Wednesday, he told News 8 he will be formally announcing his candidacy for the open seat on Friday.

Medinger will only be the second mayor, at least in Wisconsin, to run again after leaving office.

UW-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim said that just might work to Medinger's advantage.

“All in all, I think he starts off with a big advantage with name identification, and simply, his generally very positive image in the area,” said Heim.

Medinger served as La Crosse's mayor for two terms, from 1997 to 2005.

While his time in office got off to a rocky start, Heim said leadership during his second term is what has defined his legacy as mayor.

“He did some things, for example, with the budget, that gave the executive a little more influence and authority over things in City Hall that overall got him some pretty positive marks,” said Heim.

But Heim said we shouldn't be too quick to call the mayor's race already.

Current city council member Chris Olson has also decided to run for the open seat. 

“When Mayor (Matt) Harter decided not to run (again), I think that decision made it a little bit easier because it's always hard to take out an incumbent,” said Olson.

Olson said he's thought about running for a while, and already has a rough idea of things he'd like to accomplish as mayor.

“I liked the fact that Mayor Harter was fiscally responsible and I'll continue with that,” said Olson. “There has been a divide in the city and I think people can see that that are familiar with the situation, and I would like to correct that and get people to work together.”

Heim said now with Olson in the running, the dynamics of the race have changes, and he expects it will be an interesting race in the spring.

“He's 'current' in the sense that he’s part of the city council,” said Heim. “[He] knows what's going on [and] he knows current issues very clearly. “I would think that both of them would be considered somewhat frontrunners at this point simply because they both come from pretty strong backgrounds.”          

Other candidates in the race include former Washburn Neighborhood Association president Randy Magno and Randall Czapiewski. The election is in April.

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Former La Crosse Mayor John Medinger is running for the seat again.

Medinger told News 8 he will formally announce his candidacy on Friday afternoon.

Medinger was first elected mayor of La Crosse in 1997. He served two terms before leaving the office in 2005, saying he was tired physically and mentally.

Current Mayor Matt Harter announced last month he won't seek re-election.

So far two candidates have declared they're running for Mayor: Randy Magno and Randall Czapiewski.

The election is in April.