Rye Councilman Peter Jovanovich said this morning that he plans to run independently for mayor against his Republican colleague, Councilman Joseph Sack.
The race was shaping up to be the first uncontested election for Rye mayor in memory. The Democratic Party endorsed only two candidates for three council seats – and no candidate for mayor. The Republican Party, divided politically, endorsed Sack.
Jovanovich is a first-term councilman and deputy to Mayor Douglas French, who is stepping down. He said he didn’t want to pursue a primary fight, because such battles to be “inherently ugly,” but that friends in both parties wanted to see a choice for mayor.
“They’d like to see the City of Rye do things, rather than be a debating society,” he said. Jovanovich is frequently at odds with Sack, and said he differs with him on issues ranging from labor negotiations to land use. His wife, Robin Jovanovich, is owner and publisher of The Rye Record.
Jovanovich, 64, said he will begin circulating petitions Friday for the required 377 signatures, due Aug. 20, to gain a spot on the ballot.
Sack, 44, has said his Rye United ticket is aiming to move on from divisiveness in city government. “Unfortunately and regrettably, the atmosphere on the council right now is very toxic,” he said. “I’d like to help change that, and my teammates would like to help change that.”
The mayor and six other council members serve unpaid, four-year terms.
Running for three open council seats are incumbent Julia Killian and newcomers Kirstin Bucci and Terry McCartney on the Republican line; Shari Punyon and Meg Cameron on the Democratic ticket, and Jason Mehler as an Independence Party nominee.
Jovanovich had said he would not seek re-election to the council as his term concludes this year. Mayor French and fellow GOP Councilman Richard Filippi, who won election on the same ticket in 2009, are not running for new terms.