The president of the Rapid City Council is calling for the resignation of the mayor or that Sam Kooiker take a leave of absence to do political work.
In an email sent to the board, Jerry Wright said he is "deeply offended by robo calls that came to his home endorsing candidates. The voice on the other end: Mayor Sam Kooiker. In the calls, Kooiker throws his support behind two candidates running for county office.
Kooiker said the calls were paid for by the candidate with the proper disclaimer. He said his is puzzled by Wright's email, especially since he endorsed Kooiker's opponent last election.
But Wright said the calls are an abuse of power and an example of the "Chicago style" politics that Kooiker campaigned against three years ago.
"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 said.
John Roberts, who was endorsed by Kooiker said the mayor did the robo calls as a private citizen, not as mayor. Roberts said Wright's motivation is simple: he doesn't like Kooiker. If it were about campaign morality, Roberts wonders why Wright took no action when another city official endorsed a candidate.
"If he felt that way, why didn't he ask for the Chief of Police's resignation when he did it two weeks ago, as the Chief of Police, let me reiterate that. Sam did this as a private citizen," Roberts said.
Secretary of State, Jason Gant said there is nothing in the books that would preclude an elected official from endorsing another candidate.