Cates prefiles to run for a fifth term as Key West mayor

Key West Mayor Craig Cates wants to serve a fifth term.

Cates, formerly the owner of an auto-parts store, prefiled candidate papers with the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Office on Jan. 11. Two others had already prefiled -- Rev. Randy Becker from the Southernmost Unitarian Universalist Congregation and Ed "Krane" Karsch, who sends out via e-mail a weekly entertainment calendar for the Southernmost City.

The election is Aug. 30. If none of the candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two would go to a runoff on Nov. 8.

Cates was first elected in 2009, serving two years. He was re-elected in 2011, also for two years; re-elected in 2013 for one year because that year the date of city elections changed; and then re-elected again for two years in 2014.

He says he wants to remain in office because "basically I think Key West has been moving in a positive direction. I hope I've made a difference."

Specifically, he cited:

  • A new city hall being built at the former Glynn Archer Elementary School on White Street because the old city hall on Angela Street was falling apart. He said he was successful "working with the [Monroe County] School Board to acquire shared usage."

  • "Moving on the Truman Waterfront, we broke ground on that."

"Those are the kinds of things" Cates said he's proud of but he also wants to continue trying to get affordable housing built on Stock Island and a new homeless shelter built near there. The current shelter is on the grounds of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office headquarters on Stock Island. It has to move based on a settlement reached with an adjacent condo association, which had sued to get it moved.

"We're waiting on an attorney general's opinion whether the money from the [county] Land Authority, which can be used for construction of affordable housing, can be used for the shelter," Cates said.

Other seats on the seven-member Key West City Commission up for election this year are held by commissioners Jimmy Weekley, Billy Wardlow and Clayton Lopez. Those are elected by district whereas the mayor is elected citywide. As of Tuesday, no one, including the incumbents, had prefiled to run for those seats.