Will candidate potluck keep mayoral hopefuls playing nice? – South Dakota News

Will candidate potluck keep mayoral hopefuls playing nice? – South Dakota News

A Sioux Falls mayoral candidate hopes breaking bread with his competitors might keep the 2018 race positive.

David Zokaites, the most colorful character to announce his aspirations to replace Mike Huether as mayor of Sioux Falls next year, is applying a style as unique as the Hawaiian shirts he wears to City Council meetings to the start of his campaign.

This week, the 55-year-old data programmer and civil rights buff got the ball rolling on what could be the first ever mayoral potluck.

“I would like us all to get together for a potluck to promote camaraderie and a healthy campaign,” Zokaites wrote in an email sent this week to the other four formally announced mayoral candidates: Kenny Anderson Jr., Jim Entenman, Michael Gunn and Nick Weiland.

Zokaites admits it might be an unorthodox approach to dealing with those looking to one-up him on the campaign trail. But he said contentious elections are more likely to stay issue-based and away from personal attacks if the candidates are personally acquainted.

“Sometimes campaigns get really nasty,” he said. “It you introduce people to each other as people and friends, not adversaries, it’s easier to keep it that way when the race gets going.”

It’s not a completely foreign concept. Fellow candidate Anderson Jr. said while campaigning for City Council in 2006, meeting face to face with his competitor and discussing their visions for the city, why they were running and how they wanted the…

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