Lacey Mayor Tom Nelson will have a challenger if he decides to seek another term on the City Council this fall.
Lenny Greenstein, an insurance agent and chair of the Lacey Planning Commission, announced Thursday he is running for Position 2, the seat occupied by Nelson.
He said the decision is not an attack on the mayor but rather “the best choice” between the three positions that are up for election.
“Tom’s a great guy,” he said. “He’s done a good job.”
The decision, Greenstein said, came after hearing from people who pointed to new leadership and fiscal responsibility as their top priorities. He also said the council needs another voice that has a background in business.
By targeting Nelson’s seat, Greenstein avoided round two with Councilman Jeff Gadman, who was appointed by the council earlier this year out of a field of 11 candidates to finish an unexpired term. Running against Gadman would have also crowded the race for Position 3, with fellow planning commissioner Raymond Payne Jr. announcing he would take on Gadman.
The term for Councilman Jason Hearn is also up this fall, but a race between Greenstein and Hearn was unlikely. Hearn supported Greenstein earlier this year during the appointment process and made an unsuccessful motion to appoint Greenstein.
After the appointment meeting in February, Hearn said he was impressed by the amount of work Greenstein had done for the city in his role on the planning commission.
As for Nelson, the mayor said he’ll make a decision before filing week begins June 6. However, he hinted that a third term is in his sights.
“That’s interesting to know that someone is going to run against me,” he said.
During a retreat last month, Nelson announced he would not seek another term as mayor, opening the door for another council member to tackle the next two-year appointment.
Asked why he wouldn’t make a decision sooner, Nelson said he didn’t want to file with the Public Disclosure Commission yet and that he wasn’t a fan of long campaigns.
Greenstein is wasting no time campaigning, holding a kick-off breakfast Wednesday at the Lacey Community Center attended by more than 130 people, including Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, Auditor Kim Wyman and Lacey Councilman Virgil Clarkson, according to a news release. He also said his campaign has raised $10,000, giving him a head start in the money race.
Nelson said Greenstein’s fundraising total already was more than he had to raise in previous elections, but that his name recognition and contacts in the community would aid a future campaign.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 email@example.com