- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The president of the Rapid City City Council is calling for Mayor Sam Kooiker to resign or take a leave of absence to do political work because he says the mayor shouldn’t endorse candidates for county positions on “robocalls.”

Council President Jerry Wright said in an email to the Council on Friday that it’s inappropriate for Kooiker to lend his voice to the taped campaign phone calls that endorse John Roberts and Jordan Mason, who are running for Pennington County Auditor and Register of Deeds, respectively.

The mayor said Wright endorsed Kooiker’s opponents last year.

“I’m puzzled with Jerry’s reaction,” Kooiker told the Rapid City Journal. “Jerry didn’t have a problem with endorsing my opponent in last year’s race.”

Secretary of State Jason Gant said there’s nothing illegal about an elected official endorsing another candidate.

Wright told the Rapid City Journal that four residents contacted him about the taped campaign phone calls from Kooiker, who is not running in this election. Wright said he received the calls himself and called the endorsements an inappropriate use of Kooiker’s position.

“Because of his name recognition, because he is identified as the mayor, he should not be speaking on behalf of candidates in local elections. Sorry, it’s wrong,” Wright told KOTA-TV Friday.


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