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Mayoral campaigns to begin soon

By Kim Walter — kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL — While it’s not in the immediate future, town residents can soon expect to see campaigning for the May election for mayor.

Mayor Timothy Darr intends to run for re-election in the spring, starting with the collection of at least 125 signatures supporting his placement on the ballot.

“I’ve also got to continue with the business of the town,” he said.

Before being elected mayor in 2010, Darr was a member of the Town Council, and served as chairman of the Warren County School Board.

Darr said his main focus is supporting the community, and continuing to make himself as available as possible. He added that he hopes to see voter turnout increase for the upcoming election.

Voting is “a given right. Exercise it,” he said.

Community members may be more inclined to do just that, as Front Royal resident Tim Ratigan is hoping to run for mayor as well.

“People need to have a choice, and I support that,” Darr said.

Ratigan has been planning his campaign since May 2010, but it wasn’t until October of that year that he decided to run for mayor instead of council. Ratigan presented the council with an idea to move the elections from May to November, and soon after received calls from Republicans and Democrats alike supporting him.

“For a brief moment, I became a unifier,” he said. “We need a unifying force.”

Ratigan said other supporters told him he would “truly represent the majority of the town,” as he works a 9-to-5 job as a receptionist and his income is in the same range as 75 percent of town residents.

Ratigan hopes to organize a question and answer session between candidates and the community once names are officially on the ballot in March.

“I would love to see an election where voters are energized and candidates talk about the specific issues,” he said.

One issue that Ratigan supports is a movement to bring jobs to the town that currently require residents to commute. He said that the idea for “real living wage jobs” was brought up by Councilman Thomas Conkey, and Ratigan couldn’t help but agree.

“It spoke to the heart of my campaign,” he said. “Front Royal citizens deserve better.”

The revitalization of the historic downtown area is another “huge passion” of Ratigan’s, he said, and stresses the importance of town government making it clear to local businesses what it can and cannot do for them. He hopes that after that is laid out, things can go forward.

Ratigan also said tourism is a big issue to him.

He supports joining with officials from other towns in the Shenandoah Valley to promote making a miniseries about the area’s history and assets.

“How cool would that be,” he said excitedly, noting that he considers himself a history buff.

Ratigan’s overall campaign, he said, will focus on living, working and playing in Front Royal.

“I look forward to a gentlemen’s campaign,” he said. He added that he’s grateful for the work Darr has done for the town, and hopes that residents will simply take the time to look at issues they find important.

Election Day is May 1.