CHAMPAIGN — Mayor Don Gerard likely will have a third challenger for mayor before his first term expires in spring 2015.
Champaign Park District Board President Joseph Petry reported to the Illinois State Board of Elections this week that he has $40 in a campaign fund for mayor. He joins city council members Karen Foster and Deborah Frank Feinen as potential candidates for the office.
The 2015 field for mayor will not be finalized until the official filing period toward the end of this year, but likely candidates continue to come out of the woodwork.
Petry has been in regular attendance at Champaign City Council meetings in the past weeks. He did not return messages seeking comment on Thursday, but he did confirm to WDWS 1400-AM that he plans on running for mayor.
Petry was elected to the park board in 2003 and became its president this year. He works as a clinical professor of economics and finance at the University of Illinois.
Gerard said he still likes his chances as the field grows.
"I think as mayor, it's a nonpartisan position, but my backing has tended to be Democratic," Gerard said. "Having three Republicans vying is less daunting."
He also thinks the city is on a good run and believes his record will set him up for a strong 2015 campaign.
"To be honest, I just plan on continuing to be the best mayor I can be," Gerard said. "There was a very steep learning curve for me on the personal side of being a public figure. On the legislative side, I think we've done pretty well."