Let's just catch our breath for a moment in this year's city election campaigns and remember one from a decade ago.
In 2003, a special election was held to pick a successor to Mayor Bill Schickel, who had been elected to the Iowa Legislature.
It was a time of great excitement and enthusiasm in city politics -- and the campaign and election that year are memorable for a number of reasons.
For one thing, there were 10 candidates. The Globe Gazette described the political climate as one of "no pulpit-pounding or God-fearing oratory, no personal attacks, no flashy advertising blitzes."
A favorite riddle at coffee shops and service clubs was: Can you name all the candidates for mayor? You won if you could name: Jean Marinos, John Jaszewski, Richard Dedor, Troy Levenhagen, Rob Grayson, Jim Paulsen Sr., Richard Paulsen II, Clarence Slife, Kevin Smith and Gene Smail.
It was generally assumed that with that many candidates a runoff was assured, because no candidate was expected to get more than 50 percent of the vote as required to be elected. But Marinos got 56 percent to become the city's first woman mayor.
Dedor was a North Iowa Area Community College student who turned 19 about a month before the election and was planning to continue his education at the University of Northern Iowa. He promised to arrange his college schedule so it would not interfere with his duties as mayor if elected. He finished third -- a distant third, but third nonetheless. Jaszewski finished second.
Another unusual twist in that year's campaign is that two of the candidates were related. James Paulsen Sr., who is still a city bus driver, is the uncle of Richard Paulsen II.
Among the issues that year were the cost of the Northbridge project, taxes, and, brace yourself, talk of a downtown multipurpose center.
Another of the candidates that year was Gene Smail, who is no longer with us. Gene openly admitted to having some mental issues for which he was being treated and he was a passionate advocate for the mentally ill.
Gene was a likeable fellow, particularly because he recognized his weaknesses and sought to overcome them. He was running for mayor out of his desire to make a difference.
About a week before the election, a candidate forum was held that all 10 candidates attended. At the end of it, each candidate was permitted to give a closing statement. This is the moment in which candidates make their last pitch to the voters.
When Gene's turn came, he said with all sincerity, "I've listened to what everyone had to say tonight -- and I've decided I'm voting for John Jaszewski.