Former La Crosse mayor John Medinger said he will seek to regain his old job in 2013 after eight years away from the post.
Medinger, 64, confirmed Tuesday he will formally announce his mayoral candidacy later this week or early next.
“I’m excited about it,” Medinger said. “I think my experience and leadership skills will serve the city well.”
Medinger was in the state Assembly for 16 years before winning a mayoral election in 1997 against seven candidates. He won a second term in 2001 with more than 70 percent of the vote.
But Medinger bowed out in 2005, saying he was tired physically and mentally after almost a quarter-century in state and local office.
He became a staff assistant in La Crosse for U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, in April 2006, a position that’s about to end with Kohl’s retirement.
His presence will change the dynamics of the mayor’s race, said Joe Heim, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
With his name recognition and past political success, “he very clearly would be considered the front runner,” Heim said.
While incumbent Mayor Matt Harter’s decision not to seek a second term could have made for a large field, this likely will convince some prospective candidates to stay out, Heim said.
But Medinger’s Democratic affiliations also might spur a Republican-leaning or conservative candidate to step forward, even though mayor is a nonpartisan office, Heim said.
Only two candidates have declared so far: Randy Magno, the former chairman of the Washburn Neighborhood Association, and Randall Czapiewski.
Saturday was the first day candidates could begin gathering signatures on nomination papers, which must be filed by 5 p.m. Jan. 2 to get on the spring election ballot.
A Feb. 19 primary would be needed if more than two candidates emerge.