Mary Verner is seven months away from achieving what some might consider a sad milestone: Only three years into her term, she will become Spokane's longest serving mayor since voters approved the strong mayor system.
On Thursday, Verner officially began her quest to dislodge another Spokane mayoral curse. She hopes to become the city's first reelected mayor since David Rodgers won a second term in 1973.
Illness, scandal, a lack of union support, River Park Square and neighborhood turmoil have worked against any mayor serving more than four years since Rodgers left office. And since Spokane mayors became strong mayors a decade ago, no mayor has even served a full four-year term.
Verner held a $40-a-plate breakfast Thursday to kick off her 2011 reelection bid.
While her "kick-off" event is Friday, her first reelection fund-raising event was in October -- more than two years from Election Day.
She's raised $8,000 so far, some from the same Democratic, union and neighborhood sources she won backing from in 2007. The Spokane Firefighters' Union gave $450. Water attorney Rachael Pascal-Osborn gave $100. Neighborhood leader Mel Silva gave $50.
But she also has the support of Avista, which backed her opponent, Dennis Hession, in the 2007 race. Avista, which often contributes to incumbents, gave her campaign $500. And she even got $100 from Republican county commission candidate Steve Salvatori. (There's no donation as of yet reported from Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager, who gave $100 to Verner's 2007 bid.)
Other contributors include city hall administrators Sheila Collins and Karen Stratton, as well as Scott Staab, husband of Tracy Staab, who was appointed by Verner to the city's Municipal Court bench, and Kim Danek, wife of Ted Danek, who serves as Verner's city administrator.
She also has support from one of her one-term predecessors: Sheri Barnard gave $20.
(Photo above is from Verner's 2007 election victory party.)