“He said, ‘I think you ought to think about running for mayor,’” Munger said today.
When Munger eventually decided he would seek a mayoral bid instead of a seat on City Council, Skorman was among the people he consulted again.
“He said, ‘Good for you. Now I can tell people who want me to run that I don’t need to, and I’ve got a guy I can support.’ He even offered to give me some funding and to give me his endorsement,” Munger said.
According to Munger, Skorman withdrew his offer in November, after voters approved a switch to a strong-mayor form of government.
The new system of government gives the mayor a lot more power.
And a lot more money.
Nearly 16 times the current salary of $6,250 a year, to be exact.
“After the strong mayor passed, (Skorman) called me up, which was good of him, and said, ‘Well, now it’s a strong mayor, I can afford to run. Now that it’s going to pay $96,000, I can afford to run,’” Munger said.
That’s not what Skorman said when he announced he was exploring a mayoral bid.
“The recent death of his mother, for whom he was primary caregiver, and the willingness of his wife, Patricia, to take over management of the family’s (North) Tejon Street businesses made it possible for Skorman to consider a citywide campaign,” according to a news release that Skorman’s campaign sent out Dec. 8.
Munger divulged the details of his conversations with Skorman after he was told that Skorman said Munger is better suited to run for City Council.
“I think he would be an excellent council member,” Skorman said Tuesday.
“I would love to have him there. I think that would be a good place for him to start. Maybe four years from now he can be the mayor,” Skorman said.
Of all the mayoral candidates, Skorman and Munger are considered the most moderate, likely appealing to the same voters. Political insiders believe the pair will split the vote and give one of the more conservative candidates a better shot at winning the mayor’s race.
That prompted The Gazette to ask Skorman, who has better name recognition in the city, whether he had talked to Munger about the possibility of dropping out of the race.
“I hope Dave doesn’t drop out. I hope he runs for City Council,” Skorman responded.
Skorman said Munger’s candidacy “does and it doesn’t” pose a risk to his campaign.
“I know that I have good name recognition, that I have the ability to put a real grassroots campaign together,” he said. “I’m not sure that Dave and I are going to necessarily draw from exactly the same voters. I’m going to go out there and do my best. If he still wants to keep running for mayor, then we’ll get to be good friends on the campaign trail.”
By the tone of things, that remains to be seen.
Munger said he has “terrific respect” for Skorman, saying he did “some great things” when he served on the City Council.
But “we would approach governance very differently, I think,” he said.
“I think I’m very much about collaboration. I know Richard is famous for 8-to-1 votes and taking principled stands. But I think I’ve got a recent record of being able to get important things done for the community with majority support,” Munger said.
“I’m committed to running for mayor,” Munger added.