Monica Vernon has pulled the plug on her thought to take on mayoral candidate Ron Corbett and any other comers in this year’s mayoral race.
District 2 council member Vernon, founder and president of Vernon Market Research, on Tuesday afternoon said running for mayor calls for a “huge commitment” at a time when she is heavily committed to her business in a down economy and to her City Council post a year into flood recovery.
“It’s true that a lot of people have asked me to consider running for mayor, and I’ve spent some time exploring that,” Vernon, 51, said. “However, I’ve concluded that I don’t have the time to run my business, provide a high level of service as a council member and run for office.”
Even so, Vernon sounded a little disheartened even as she was setting aside the thought of a mayoral run.
In truth, there has been something of a behind-the-scenes mayoral run going on for many weeks, with formidable prospects like Vernon — business owner, past chair of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, past president of Junior League and past chairwoman of the City Planning Commission — trying to assess the political winds.
Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, a Democrat, toyed with the idea of a mayoral run only to set the idea aside in recent days.
Gary Hinzman, one-time Cedar Rapids police chief and longtime head of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, also has been exploring a mayoral run in recent months, but it’s unclear if he will run for the post.
The one candidate expected to take on Corbett now is council member Brian Fagan, a local attorney.
In the course of sorting out if she would or would not run for what is officially a non-partisan job of mayor, Vernon changed her political affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
In the end, Vernon on Tuesday said she concluded she is more interested in governing than in the politics of running for office.
She said, too, that she remains committed to making sure the council “can flex its muscle” and can be as strong “as it needs to be.”
Announced mayoral candidate Ron Corbett — who was president/CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce when Vernon was chairwoman of the Chamber’s board of directors — had only good things to say about Vernon on Tuesday.
“Monica has certainly been a leader on the City Council and that will continue,” said Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST Inc. “As a small business person her perspective has been extremely valuable. I hope I have a chance to work with her on the council next year.”
Vernon’s current council term runs through 2011.
She said she hasn’t decided if she will support another candidate for mayor or not.