Mark Verhalen and Oak Creek Alderman Tom Michalski will run for Oak Creek mayor, bringing the number of candidates to three.
They join Alderman Steve Scaffidi, who announced in December his intent to run. A race of three or more means a primary election will be held on Feb. 21. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to submit their nomination papers.
They will vie to replace Dick Bolender, who passed away Dec. 10 just days after deciding to retire at the end of his term.
Michalski said he had thought about running for mayor for the last two or three months and decided to make it official earlier this week following Bolender's death.
"Mayor Bolender had a vision and a course for the city," Michalski said. "I'd like to extend my vision to the city and ... expand that vision for the future."
Michalski said his past experience on the city's personnel committee, plan commission and finance committee will translate well to the mayor position, as those committees play a huge role in the governance of Oak Creek.
"There are tough decisions that have to be made and I'm not afraid to make tough decisions," Michalski said.
Michalski, 58, was first elected to the Common Council in 2006. He ran for state Assembly in 2010, losing to Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Honadel.
Michalski has also filed to run again for his seat on the Common Council and would have to give that up if elected mayor.
For Verhalen, it is the fourth consecutive mayor's election his name will be on the ballot.
He previously said he was undecided because he had a lot on his plate in his personal life. But since then, "everything has fallen into place" and he is ready to give it another shot. He said his decision was made early last week, before Bolender's passing.
Verhalen said that given the continued state of the economy, he is concerned about the long-term financial impact of Oak Creek's redevelopment plans at the former Delphi site and lakefront.
"I'm not sure if it's the right time to be jumping into so many things at once," he said.
Verhalen, 55, sits on the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board, a position he said he would not give up if elected mayor.
He did not feel it would be a conflict of interest. In fact, he said, the opposite is true. It would help to have someone who knew the inner workings of both entities and could improve the communication, he said, citing the city's decision to incorporate the school district into the Delphi and Civic Center discussions.
"It gives you an opportunity to know what each expects of each other and makes it easier to plan things together going forward," Verhalen said.