Against a backdrop of colorful political signs, a candidate and a campaign manager stood in front of University Elementary at 10:30 a.m. and greeted voters.
Hopi Stosberg, who is running for City Council District 3, compared running for office to a months-long job interview in front of thousands of people.
Although she said politics is not always friendly, she’s optimistic about how these elections will allow city government to reset with a new mayor and drastically different set of city councilmembers.
Stosberg is running in the most crowded city council race, facing incumbent Ron Smith and challenger Conner Wright. She said she shares a similar philosophy to Wright but has more experience with the community and life in general.
She said she is to the left of Ron Smith politically, who presents himself as a moderate, and said she would be more available to the public than he is currently.
If she wins, Stosberg said she will come to the council with an open-mind and a readiness to learn.
Standing with Stosberg was Jacob Schwartz, campaign manager for Kerry Thomson. Schwartz said he met Thomson while canvassing for Penny Githens’ run for the state legislature last year. When Schwartz suffered a bout of depression, Thomson was compassionate and understanding, he said.
He said the campaign has knocked on 13,000 doors, with Thomson canvassing 2500 herself.
Kaisa Goodman, the Public Engagement Director for the city, arrived later with campaign literature for Donald Griffin. She said she was volunteering for Griffin because he is one of the most dedicated public servants she’s worked with. Goodman said she was there as a volunteer and not in a professional capacity.
Goodman said regardless of what happens, the mayoral election will be historic. She said Bloomington has never had a woman that’s been elected as mayor without first being caucused in and said Griffin would be the city’s first Black mayor.
As of 1 p.m., total vote counts had reached 5,667, with 2,464 votes from today alone.
At Bloomington High School South, one of the busiest polling sites as of noon, City Council candidate Stephen Volan devised a creative way of campaigning: a makeshift metal frame, duck taped to a sign, advertising “City Government Help” for free.
Volan, who currently represents District 6 — the unofficial student district — but is now running for an at-large seat, said he will continue to represent students on the council.
“It’s been the project of my career to get students to realize that yes, they’re Bloomington residents,” he said.
Volan said this election was on track to break a record for turnout. In 2019, the municipal primary only garnered 4,831 votes.
As of 3 p.m., vote totals had reached 6,404.
A few yards away, Charlotte Zietlow, a former city councilmember and namesake of the Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center, sat in a chair in front of Kerry Thomson signs. She has endorsed Thomson for mayor, saying she’s impressed by Thomson’s leadership with Habitat for Humanity.
Zietlow also said she liked that Thomson got along with people from different political parties. She said she didn’t agree with what she views as a hard stance against development coming from one of Thomson’s opponents, Susan Sandberg.
The high school was a polling site for District 5, where candidates Jenny Stevens and Shruti Rana are running for city council.
David Gamage, Rana’s husband, said Rana has a background in local and national politics and is a champion of reproductive rights. He said she is devoted to making Bloomington better.
Laurie Eynon, a friend of Stevens, said Stevens would bring civility back to the council and focus on increasing police and fire salaries and improving infrastructure.