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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Mayor race yields losers, worse losers

The primary is past tense. The shocking election results are (mostly) in.

In capturing a whopping 59.9 percent of the vote Tuesday night, incumbent Mary Verner is making the most serious run at becoming the city’s first two-term mayor since way back when FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover showed up to work in a red satin prom dress.

I don’t want to alarm you, but Spokane’s Curse of the One-Term Mayor could be toast.

In November Verner will face David Condon, who, despite his bucks, braggadocio and backing from the power elite, bagged second place with a pathetic 33.3 percent.

That’s a daunting distance to make up.

The Verner victory is even more monumental when you consider how historically unkind primary voters have been to some of our sitting mayors.

Ask John Powers. Ask Sheri Barnard. They both suffered the embarrassment of a primary pink slip.

We’ll get back to the Verner/Condon cage match in a moment.

First I feel compelled to utter a few parting thoughts to those three wannabe mayors who got their rear ends handed to them on a platter Tuesday night.

Namely Michael Noder, Barbara Lampert and Robert Kroboth.

What were you numbskulls thinking?

I realize that mailed-in ballots are still trickling in. The numbers will change a bit. Heck, I dropped my ballot in a postal box on Perry about an hour before the 4 p.m. Monday pickup.

But according to our Wednesday tabulations, the three aforementioned candidates accounted for only 2,367 votes combined.

That’s 8,693 votes shy of Condon’s sad second place.

I’m continually astounded by individuals who pay the filing fees to put their names on a ballot yet do virtually nothing of what it takes to win.

Why do it?

What’s the point?

Now we all know about Lampert, who has now been a failed candidate in 19,209 races. Her OCD (“obsessive campaigning disorder”) comes from either a deep spiritual need for self abuse or an attempt to become Spokane’s Biggest Loser.

What motivates Cranky Kroboth is even more mysterious.

All we know is that after filing for office, he cut off all contact with the outside world and disappeared into a Cold War bomb shelter to eat freeze-dried food until the losing results were in.

A word of advice for you 375 voters who actually opened your ballots and darkened the circle next to the name Kroboth:

Seek medical help.

Noder at least appeared to want the job.

He conducted himself adequately at the candidate debate I attended.

He looked professional enough.

But if Noder did any hard campaigning I sure as heck don’t know about it. He strikes me as an arrogant guy who thinks his wisdom is so profound that voters will piddle themselves for a chance to elect him.

That’s like a pickpocket who doesn’t want to lower himself to sticking his hand in your pocket. He expects victims to just hand over their wallets out of sheer gratitude.

Politics doesn’t work that way.

It’s a sleazy business. If you want to get elected you have to get down in the mud. You have to kiss old people and change babies and make corrupt deals with unsavory people.

Then you have to face the public and tell bald-faced lies with a cheesy grin on your face.

Sure it’s immoral. But that’s the American Way.

If you can’t stick a blade in your opponent’s liver and then deliver the eulogy at his funeral the next day, well, then you’ll never have the right stuff to serve the public.

Speaking of the mayor’s race, with Condon so far behind I figure his campaign is already in the dire desperation mode.

So look for the next three months to be filled with mudslinging, character assassination and bitter accusations.

At least I’m sure hoping that’s the case.

Nothing is more boring for a columnist than a campaign devoid of rancor.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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