Fargo mayor, deputy mayor endorse newcomer Guggisberg for Legislature over fellow City Commissioner Mike WilliamsMike Williams sits on the Fargo City Commission with Mayor Dennis Walaker and Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney. But it's newcomer candidate Ron Guggisberg who Walaker and Mahoney have decided to throw their support behind for south Fargo's District 11 House race. Williams and Guggisberg, a Fargo Fire Department captain, are both running for one of two open House seats in their district.
By: Heidi Shaffer, INFORUM
Mike Williams sits on the Fargo City Commission with Mayor Dennis Walaker and Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney. But it's newcomer candidate Ron Guggisberg who Walaker and Mahoney have decided to throw their support behind for south Fargo's District 11 House race.
Williams and Guggisberg, a Fargo Fire Department captain, are both running for one of two open House seats in their district.
Photos of Mayor Dennis Walaker and Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney appear on Guggisberg’s nearly 6,000 pieces of campaign literature being passed around the district’s neighborhoods, which include portions of south Fargo north of Interstate 94 and east of Interstate 29.
But Williams hasn’t received a similar endorsement from his fellow commission members – mostly because he hasn’t asked for it.
Williams said he’s fine with the Fargo officials’ endorsements, adding that he hasn’t even discussed his state legislative campaign with Walaker or Mahoney.
“I try to keep that stuff out of city business,” he said.
Walaker has backed several candidates in state campaigns, including state Sen. Tom Fiebiger and state Rep. Ed Gruchalla, both Democrats of District 45 in north Fargo.
Walaker also took part in a campaign ad for Republican Gov. John Hoeven and Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy.
Guggisberg said he approached Walaker and Mahoney about the endorsement.
Though Guggisberg is running as a Democrat, Walaker said party affiliation doesn’t play into his endorsement decision. He instead looks at a candidate’s service record, dedication and willingness to learn, Walaker said.
A message left for Mahoney on Tuesday afternoon was not returned.
Guggisberg started as a Fargo firefighter a decade ago and was promoted to captain this year.
He isn’t the only candidate in the race from the Fargo Fire Department.
Incumbent Scot Kelsh, who joined the Fire Department last year, is the other Democratic-NPL candidate in the election. Commissioner Williams, who is running as an independent candidate, serves as the city’s liaison to the Fire Department.
Walaker said Williams didn’t ask for an endorsement, and the mayor has reservations about a commissioner being able to juggle both a state and city office.
If elected, Williams would have to commute from Bismarck or call in by phone to attend biweekly Fargo commission meetings during the legislative session.
“I just feel this job (city commissioner) is too important to deal with it by telephone,” Walaker said.
Several other state legislators have also served on city or county boards, and Williams said he’s talked with a few about ways to arrange his schedule to attend city meetings.
Williams said he has a good attendance record on the City Commission and doesn’t see that changing if he is elected to the Legislature.
“Being involved and showing up for meetings is something that I’m proud of and would continue to do if I’m lucky enough to be elected,” he said.
The election is Nov. 2.
Republicans David Gibb and Zach Heuer are also running for the two open seats.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511