Candidates for three open council spots still unopposed

Monday, October 29, 2007

Next spring's election to fill three openings on Cape Girardeau's city council may be pretty simple. There's no competition for the three announced candidates.

Two candidates, Ward 3's Debra Tracy and Ward 4's Loretta Schneider, are running for their second and final four-year terms.

Mark Lanzotti has already filed his petition to run for the seat representing Ward 5, which is, roughly speaking, south of Lexington Street, east of Mount Auburn Road, west of Cape Rock Drive and Kingshighway; and north of Themis and Bloomfield streets. Cape Girardeau's ward borders do not follow straight lines.

Ward 5 councilman Matt Hopkins has served two four-year terms, the maximum allowed.

Schneider and Tracy said they are planning to submit their petitions later. Conrad said the last date to file the paperwork is Nov. 20.

Lanzotti has lived in the city since 1999. Many members of his extended family are Cape Girardeau natives. One of his aunts lives in Ward 5, as does his mother-in-law. Lanzotti, 37, grew up in Springfield, Ill. He is married and the father of three young children.

He said he went door to door asking Ward 5 residents to sign his petition to get on the ballot. The city requires a minimum of 50 valid signatures.

He filed the paperwork with 57 names to provide extras in case someone signed who wasn't a resident of his ward or was not a registered voter.

"Nobody asked about issues," he said. "Everybody asked about me, who I was, why I was in town. They asked me what made me qualified to run."

Lanzotti said he told people that, as a lawyer, he was confident of being able to understand issues brought to the board.

"I didn't tell them that, because I'm an attorney that makes me more qualified," he said. "A lot of people volunteered to put signs in their yards. Other individuals said if I decided to fundraise, they would help. That's a humbling experience."

But fundraising may not be needed anymore than yard signs are.

Cape Girardeau City Clerk Gayle Conrad said Lanzotti is the first and only candidate to formally file his name.

Schneider expressed some relief at not having opposition; Tracy, who won her seat with a write-in campaign over two candidates, said she thought competition makes the electoral process better.

335-6611, extension 127

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