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Doug Clark: Want to join me on Election Night to potentially witness history being made?

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 2, 2015

Like a hobo spider scuttling up inside your pants leg, Election 2015 results are almost here.

And I’m looking for one or two fun-loving political junkies who’d like to join me Tuesday night as the Clark Pundit Posse heads out to document what may be Spokane’s biggest development since we outlawed public hangings.

The Curse of the One-Term Mayor, I mean.

Will incumbent David Condon end the supernatural streak of in-and-out burgermeisters that began during President Jimmy Carter’s one-term* administration?

(*Coincidence? I don’t think so.)

Or will Condon’s opponent, Shar Lichty, prove that there really are some things beyond the reach of human comprehension and fat political war chests.

If you want to join me, use the email or phone contact information below. Tell me why you’re worthy to be an honorary Posse member. Make sure to leave your name and phone number.

Sorry. No whiners or felons allowed.

Lucky winner(s) will receive special gifts and may be given tasks to perform as junior reporters.

This is the Big Burrito, citizens.

The Curse of the One-Term Mayor has been a part of Spokane so long that we tend to take it for granted, like the potholes or free food samples at Costco.

But when examined under the blinding glare of a solar flare or a new Avista streetlamp, you’ll see that something inexplicably weird and mysterious has been going on.

The Lilac City has gone through mayors faster than hankies during a sinus infection.

Our list of one-termers reads like a biblical “begat list,” as in …

Spokaloosians, Chapter 1, verse 1:

And yea, verily, I say unto you that the Internet generations of mayors shows that Ron Bair (1978-1982) begat Jim Chase (1982-1986) who begat Vicki McNeill (1986-1990) who …

Verse 2:

begat Shari Barnard (1990-1994) who begat Jack Geraghty (1994-1998) who begat John Talbott (1998-2000) who begat John Powers (2000-2003) who begat Jim West (2003-2005) who begat Dennis Hession (2005-2007) who begat Mary Verner (2007-2011) who begat …

Verse 3:

David Condon (2011-????).

That’s one unholy mayoral mess of begats.

There’s no set course for becoming a one-term mayor.

The end can come through disease or sleaze. Most one-termers were given the heave at the polls via the fickle finger of ballot fate.

The curse has made running for Spokane mayor a lot harder than any honest person can imagine.

Mayoral candidates devote countless hours to doorbelling and backstabbing all the while knowing that in just one short term it could all be gone:

The nice office with a view at City Hall, the phony deference from security guards, the rapt attention from the media, the riding in parades and wasting taxpayer money on self-important junkets to that other Washington.

All gone.

A good friend of mine calls the Spokane mayor’s job “a springboard to political obscurity,” and I believe he’s right.

I can’t think of many former mayors who’ve gone on to bigger and grander venues.

PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER – “Hmm. I see by your resume that you served one term as the mayor of Spokane.”

EX-MAYOR – Yes I did. And in my, um, official capacity I traveled to several of our, um, sister cities, meeting many important dignitaries in Japan and Ireland and …

PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER – “Fine. Fine. I think you do qualify for a job as assistant night shift supervisor in our motor pool.”

Ah, but it must be fun while it lasts.

And quite frankly, there are very few things more exciting than watching the changing of the mayor on election night.

Which is what makes this election so potentially historic.

Nobody knows what a Spokane mayor with a second term would be like.

Would he start wearing a bright uniform with gold epaulets? Would he simply ascend into heaven before our eyes?


Let me know if you’d like to tag along and find out.

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