Potential candidates for Hammond's 2nd District council seat weigh run

2013-05-14T17:36:00Z 2013-05-15T10:36:04Z Potential candidates for Hammond's 2nd District council seat weigh runChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The day after Al Salinas resigned from the Hammond City Council, one potential candidate confirmed he will run for the 2nd District in the 2015 primary, instead of the caucus slated for June.

Another potential candidate, who ran against Salinas in 2011, said he's thinking about making another try for the seat.

Salinas' departure on Monday came after he formally pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hammond to a felony bribery charge and a count of willful failure to file a tax return for the 2006 tax year.

Raymundo Garcia, a well-known Hammond businessman and manager of El Taco Real, said while he plans to move to an apartment within the 2nd District above his prospective restaurant at Hohman Avenue and Sibley Street, he currently resides in the 5th District.

“I'm not going to play the game of pretending to live in the 2nd (District) while looking for that office. It wouldn't be fair to my opponents. ... That said, I will probably be putting whoever takes the caucus on notice in two years that they are going to have a formidable opponent,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he expects the apartment to qualify as a legal residence by the end of the year.

Mark Olsen, who ran against Salinas in the 2011 Democratic primary, said Tuesday he's thinking about running in the caucus. Olsen, a former Hammond 2nd District precinct committeemen, lost to Salinas by 152 votes.

“I tried to run against Al,” Olsen said. “I gave it a good run and worked really hard.”

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who also is chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said on Monday that no potential candidate had stepped forward for the seat but "it could be a lot of people."

A caucus of 2nd District Democratic precinct committee members will meet in June to select the new council member. A date for the caucus was not known as of Tuesday afternoon.

State law requires the caucus to be held no later than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.

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