The Search for Mayor Broadhurst's Replacement

MAY 5, 2006 -- The day started off with five of the seven Wilmington City Council members attending a ribbon-cutting for the new 5th Street bridge. It's the image the city council would like people to see, an image of elected officials working together and celebrating their successes.

Uniting the city council may be Mayor Broadhurst's legacy, but ironically his decision to leave office has led to some division. That's because the council has to pick a replacement. In theory, the members can select any Wilmington resident, but the favorite candidates are among those already on the council. Mayor Broadhurst says any of them would be a good choice.

At least two members have started informal campaigns for the job. One is Laura Padgett.

"I would think about it. Yeah, I would think about it. I have talked to some of my fellow council members," says Padgett.

WECT has confirmed the other interested council member is Jason Thompson. He says he plans to run for mayor in 2007 and wouldn't mind having the job now.

The wild card in all of this is Mayor Pro Tem Jim Quinn, who is currently out of state on a fishing trip. Thompson says if Quinn wanted the job he would support him. Meanwhile, Padgett told us if the jockeying for the job gets too ugly the council may want to look at a candiate from the outside.

Reported by Kacey Gaumer