Two local residents entered Columbia’s mayoral race on Thursday, creating a unique situation for incumbent Darwin Hindman whose position has not been contested since he was elected mayor in 1995.
Arch Brooks, CEO of Brooks Computing Systems Inc., and John Clark, president of the North Central Neighborhood Association, filed to run in the April election just before the 5 p.m. deadline Thursday. Brooks is also running for a seat on the Columbia Board of Education.
“When you run for office, you have to expect to be challenged,” Hindman said. “I didn’t have to campaign at all before (in 1998 and 2001), but this time I will run a rigorous and active campaign.”
Hindman said he plans to run on his nine-year record as mayor and said he will pick up where he left off if he is elected.
Brooks did not answer questions about why he decided to challenge Hindman, refused to conduct in-person or phone interviews and told a Missourian reporter via e-mail to “take a hike!”
Clark said his campaign will concentrate on “issues of policy and governance.” He said he will not comment further until he solidifies his platform early next week. He said Columbia’s size and growth rate, among other issues, make it necessary for city government to concentrate on “policy work,” a term he also declined to define until next week.
“I’m running to raise issues, and I’m hoping these issues will get me elected,” he said. “Some people may not agree with what I think is important, and if they don’t, they just won’t vote for me.”
Clark said part of his motivation for entering the race is that he had trouble affecting policy changes “from the floor” in city government. He said being a mayoral candidate will give him a better chance to raise his concerns and catch the ear of citizens and city officials.
“There’s a greater likelihood that they’ll be discussed if they’re raised and discussed during an election race,” he said.
Thursday also was the deadline for candidates to file for two open seats on the Columbia City Council, but no petitions came in. Council members Bob Hutton and Jim Loveless will run unopposed.
- Missourian reporter Ryan Smith contributed to this report