Two seats are up for re-election on the Lodi City Council this November. But with charismatic incumbents Mayor JoAnne Mounce and Councilman Bob Johnson looking to reclaim those spots, local political observers say it's hard to imagine a challenger breaking through.
"I don't think Bob and JoAnne can be beat," said John Johnson, who sits on the city's budget and finance committee and ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2006.
"I think they're both very popular … They're going to win easy," added John Johnson, who said he will not run for council this fall.
Several possible challengers have been rumored in recent weeks.
Only two, however, confirmed they're considering a run.
Steve Jarrett and Roger Khan, both local real estate agents who campaigned unsuccessfully in 2006, said Friday they're at least thinking about another try.
Jarrett said he knows he'd be up against tough competition.
Important election dates in Lodi and Galt
July 14: Filing period for city council candidates begins.
Aug. 8: Filing period for City Council candidates ends.
Nov. 4: General election.
"I think it would take a very well-run campaign (to unseat Mounce or Bob Johnson)," added Jarrett, who is a member of Lodi's improvement committee. "I think they're very good candidates."
The incumbents said Friday they're each ready for a campaign run. Mounce said her brochures and lawn signs are ready to go, while Johnson said his Web site and mailers are about to launch.
Each draws support from different circles, with Johnson backed by business and redevelopment advocates and Mounce by the city's rank-and-file employees and many Eastside residents.
Candidates have until Aug. 8 to file with the city clerk's office for a run. July 14 is the first day they can request candidate forms.
One name from Lodi's political past, Dave Hinchman, is now officially out of the running.
The former Lodi councilman and mayor, who served from 1984 to 1992, said he had considered a run in recent weeks but dropped the idea for personal reasons.
"I had a choice of either sleeping with my dog or my wife," Hinchman said.
Randy Heinitz, also mentioned as a possible challenger, squashed those rumors.
The real estate agent and city planning commissioner said he doesn't see a "shining star" right now that could beat Mounce or Johnson.
Tracy Williams, executive director of the LOEL Center, a senior activity center in Lodi, said she's not a candidate "at this time," though several mentioned she could be.
Two others rumored, Dave Kirsten and Kevin Stevens, could not be reached for comment.
Kirsten is a Lodi planning commissioner and owner of a local dry beans export business. Stevens owns a telecommunications company and ran for council in 2006 as the "taxfighter!"
At least one possible challenger said he doesn't think Mounce and Johnson are invincible.
"You cannot go into a race thinking you're going to lose," said Khan, who serves as on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Lodi.
"You have to go into a race thinking you're going to win - I think there's a chance they can be beat."