Gary Schiff files for mayoral run, kicks off with a fundraiser at Dangerous Man Brewing Co.
Gary Schiff in front of the brew kettle at Dangerous Man.
City Council Member Gary Schiff has thrown his hat into next year's mayoral race -- sort of.
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While Schiff has been hinting at a run, yesterday he took his most concrete steps yet, filing the preliminary paperwork necessary to raise money. That night, he celebrated with a fundraiser for the Gary Schiff for Mayor exploratory committee at the soon-to-be-opened Dangerous Man Brewing Co. in Northeast.
Still, the moves are just the foundation for a possible campaign. The three-term council member says he'll make a firm decision "sometime in January."
Other prospective candidates are being similarly cautious as they wait to see whether Mayor Rybak will seek a fourth term. Schiff's fellow council member, Betsy Hodges, filed campaign paperwork, but says she'll only run if Rybak doesn't. School Board Member Hussein Samatar and former Council President Jackie Cherryhomes have made a similarly contingent declarations, the Star Tribune reports.
But Schiff says he's contemplating a run regardless of Rybak's choice.
"Everyone's wondering, nobody knows," Schiff said about Rybak last night, standing between Dangerous Man's mash tun and brew kettle. "I'm making my own decision. Everything is a factor."
"I'm not going to do my thinking out loud," he continued. "I'm doing that with my co-chairs. Fundraising is one factor though. It's a reality of modern campaigns."
Last night, he started in on it. Volunteers armed with clipboards signed up Schiff's supporters, and attendees were encouraged to give a maximum donation of $100.
At one point Schiff addressed the room, and played up his advocacy for small business owners. After getting introduced by Kim Bartmann -- old friend from the U of M, restaurateur behind spots like Bryant-Lake Bowl and Red Stag, and a co-chair of his exploratory committee -- Schiff said, "If I had a dollar for every complaint from a small business owner, I wouldn't need to fundraise."
Schiff denounced unnecessary city regulations and said he wants a "complete review of our liquor code. Then he got to the examples, calling out some of the people present who he had helped with red tape, from a music producer, to a pedicab entrepreneur, to Dangerous Man owner Rob Miller.
Schiff, who successfully championed changing city law to allow for microbreweries, worked with Miller to clear three zoning and regulatory hurdles in order to open up his new space.
"Without him," Miller said of Schiff, "we wouldn't even have this building. I think what he's done for small business for people like me is amazing. I think he'd be great for the city."
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