Mayoral field keeps growing

First-time candidate Micca Leider sixth contender to enter

by Tom Coombe
And now there are six.
The list of would-be Ely mayors keeps expanding in advance of an April primary, with Micca Leider the latest entrant in an ever-growing race.
Leider, a first-time candidate in Ely, joins former mayor Roger Skraba and four current council members - Angela Campbell, Jerome Debeltz, Paul Kess and Heidi Omerza - in the special election.
Candidate filings close at 5 p.m. Tuesday, but the number of entrants ensure that a primary will be held April, with the top two vote-getters moving on to an August general election.
Asked Wednesday why she’s seeking Ely’s top political post, Leider responded “the bottom line is I can and why not? I moved my family up here and absolutely adore this town.”
“I’ve been involved in politics since I was a child,” said Leider. “My dad instilled in me that it’s important. I’ve been an activist for more than 20 years and I want to make sure people get what they need to protect their rights and take care of other. It’s what you should do in an amazing town like this.”
Leider, a Wisconsin native, lived in Ely from 2005-2008 and moved back in 2017.
She was a teacher for 10 years and a school counselor for three and said she is currently taking a sabbatical while in “a career shift.”
This is Leider’s first run for public office, and she said a priority, if elected, “is to listen and make sure everyone is heard, and basically make sure everybody has a say, and fundamentally protect and preserve our rights.”
The two-week filing period opened Jan. 19 and prompted a flurry of openings, all interested in the mayoral seat now held on an interim basis by Chuck Novak.
Novak, who was appointed interim mayor Jan. 5, has not indicated if he would enter a mayoral race triggered by his loss in the November election, and a subsequent decision by election winner Eric Urbas to turn down the job. Urbas unseated Novak in November despite dropping out of the race for health reasons nearly three months before. His name remained on the ballot and he beat Novak by 124 votes.
The interim appointment marks Novak’s third stint as mayor, following a term from 2007-2009 and another that started in 2015 and ended earlier this year.
Skraba has been mayor on two separate occasions, serving in the mid-2000s, losing to Novak and then defeating him in two subsequent rematches before being ousted by Ross Petersen in 2012.
Omerza, Kess, Debeltz and Campbell have all had previous runs for mayor.