The North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to once again hold an event that is talked about all year.
The 2014 North Fort Myers Honorary Mayor event will take place during the after-hours event at the Chamber of Commerce office at the Shell Factory on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., with two candidates looking to earn enough "votes" to fill the shoes of current mayor Al Giacalone, who is not running for a third term.
Candidates in this unofficial, non-political, honorary and tongue-in-cheek campaign gain votes by raising funds to support the Chamber's community programs and services.
The object is for the candidate to raise the most money, with every dollar raised equal to one vote, so the more donations your candidate receives, the better chance of winning. This is one time when it's OK to vote early and often.
If elected, the mayor becomes the city's figurehead, attending grand openings and working at some of the city's big events such as the Redneck Games, while promoting the Chamber of Commerce and selling the city as a great place to do business.
- Mark Wildman
Owner, Bianca's Ristorante
About the most political things you'll hear Mark Wildman say is "Come to Bianca's and have a great time."
Wildman, a former sports anchor at NBC2 who bought the restaurant in May, was approached by the Chamber of Commerce about running for mayor, saying he would make the perfect candidate.
Wildman said that as the restaurant takes a bulk of his time, he has used it as his main fundraising tool, calling it his "Tomato Can-Paign."
"One of the cans of tomato sauce we use to make our world famous spaghetti sauce, we took a picture of me, put it in front of the can and placed them out front," Wildman said. "We made it a fun, humorous point of conversation."
The can-paign has given Wildman the chance to hype up the area as a great place to live and work, especially when groups come in to eat.
"The tomato can is not a joke, it is a real fund-raiser for the Chamber of Commerce so it could run its programs to promote the area," Wildman said. "This area has an awful lot to offer people. It's full of great people who love the area. I love being around them."
- Doug Dailey
President, Florida Weiner Dog Derby
Doug Dailey could not be reached for comment.
According to his online bio:
Dailey believes he would make the perfect mayor of North Fort Myers because he is North Fort Myers.
Dailey moved to North Fort Myers when he was seven, attended Tropic Isles Elementary School and graduated from North Fort Myers High School in 1980, where he was president of the key club and a four-time varsity letterman in cross country and track and field.
Dailey was a North Fort Myers Little League player, coach, umpire, and a past member of the North Fort Myers Little League Board of Directors, and was responsible for the development and creation of the Southwest Florida Baseball Association.
Today, Dailey is founder and president of the popular Florida Wiener Dog Derby.
Doug said he will "proudly represent North Fort Myers as its honorary mayor with tremendous pride by representing North Fort Myers future and at the same time, us(e) his knowledge, respect, and honor for North Fort Myers' distinguished past.
A third candidate, Dr. Rick Means Jr., is no longer running..