CLEARWATER — Two City Council members expressed interest in running for mayor Wednesday, looking ahead to the first change in the mayor's seat in eight years.
Council member George Cretekos and Vice Mayor John Doran, both 64, said they will campaign in the 2012 city election to replace outgoing Mayor Frank Hibbard, who will be term-limited out of office.
In their combined decade on the council, neither Cretekos nor Doran has ever faced an opposing candidate.
The city's 2012 election will correspond with Florida's presidential primary, which is to be held sometime early next year. That means the city's qualifying period for candidates likely won't begin until November at the earliest.
But that didn't stop Cretekos from getting an early start, sending e-mails this week to his friends announcing his candidacy.
"Many have encouraged me to seek the position," he wrote. "I am humbled by their confidence in my ability to serve."
Doran said Wednesday that he has considered running for mayor for several years. He joked that he now gets "to experience the joy of running for office with more than one person in the race."
"Quite honestly, we're both good candidates," Doran said. "I think it'll be good for the people of Clearwater."
Cretekos joined the council in 2007, finishing a term for Hoyt Hamilton when he moved to Atlanta. Doran ran unopposed in 2005. Both men were re-elected without opposition in 2008.
The mayor and council members are paid $23,794 and $19,800 a year, respectively. Their hours and obligations resemble a full-time job — especially for the mayor.
Hibbard, 43, was first elected to the council in 2002. He ran unopposed for mayor in 2004 and won re-election against former Mayor Rita Garvey in 2008.
He has about one more year as mayor.
"I knew people were going to start measuring my office for curtains," Hibbard said. "It's going to be a strange transition."
Contact Drew Harwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4170.