November 27, 2017
The 2018 Key West mayoral pool is up to five candidates, and sitting city commissioner Margaret Romero has a challenger after two new candidates announced intentions to run.
Two Friends Patio owner Danny Hughes, 58, officially filed his candidacy for mayor with the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections, joining candidates David Bethune, Rick Brown, Bill Foley and Mitchell Jones in the competition for Mayor Craig Cates’ expiring seat.
Former Fantasy Fest queen Mary Lou Hoover, 64, becomes the first candidate to challenge for one of the three city commission seats up for re-election.
A native of New Orleans, Hughes visited Key West approximately 80 times since 1998 before purchasing Two Friends Patio in 2013. He is running for mayor out of love for his adopted island home, he said.
“If you have a servant heart and you see a need … this is just what you do,” said Hughes of his reason to run for office.
Hmmm. That's similar to what now 5-term mayor Craig Cates said during his first political "speech" at Hometown PAC's call to candidates in 2009. Later during that campaign, Craig said, if he was elected, he would serve and not run again. He is term limited out and cannot run for reelection next year. During his victory celebration party at Camille's restaurant in 2009, Craig thanked me for getting him elected without a runoff, because he got over 50 percent of the votes cast in 4-candidate primary. Then, Craig's campaign manager thanked me. Then, Craig's wife thanked me. During that race, I had said at candidate forums and had published on my websites, "If you don't vote for me, then vote for Craig Cates. Do not vote for the other two candidates, incumbent mayor Morgant McPherson and newcomer Mike Mongo." 
Hughes listed affordable housing as the top priority for Key West, saying workforce housing should be looked at as Key West infrastructure, similar to having running water.
“Key West is evolving, but Key West cannot lose that part of it that makes it magic,” Hughes said. “And that magic comes from the people who call Key West home.”
Agreed, but I don't recall seeing you, Danny Hughes, at city commission meetings, preaching that during citizen comments to the mayor and city commissioners. I wonder how many city commission meetings you have attended? And how many times you spoke during citizen comments? Any? For years before she ran the 1st time for mayor, Margaret Romero regularly attended city commission and other city government meetings and spoke frequently during citizens comments. She also attended county commission and other county government meetings. She also attended school board meetings. As did I do all of that. How about you, Danny Hughes?
A mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Texas, Hughes said his time as chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans prepared him for public office by teaching him that the process of government is sometimes as important as the outcome.
Hoover decided to run for the District 5 commission seat as a natural progression after years of nonprofit volunteering and fundraising.
Hoover served on the boards of the Key West Business Guild and Helpline of the Florida Keys suicide prevention organization, created the Girls Night Out networking organization and has been honored by several local groups for her work, according to Hoover.
A Missouri native, Hoover moved to Key West in 2001 after a career in the prison construction industry, building city, county, state and federal correctional facilities, she said.
Affordable housing was also listed as a major issue by Hoover, who said Hurricane Irma changed the city’s priorities and there has since been momentum for affordable projects, which she called “encouraging.”
More assistance is needed for those still recovering, and providing assistance through cutting red tape and streamlining the permit process is another tenant of the campaign, she said.
Alas, my friend, Mary Lou. Affordable housing was a crisis throughout Mayor Cates' 5 terms, and the city has yet to build one stick of new affordable housing. Whether Irma will change that remains to be seen. What Cates might be partially credited for building during his 5 terms is the new city hall. 
Both candidates indicated they will begin campaigning shortly after the holidays.
Both races will be decided in the Nov. 6, 2018 election.
When I ran for mayor the 1st time, 2003, there were 5 candidates. When I ran the 2nd time, 2007, there were 6 candidates. There were 4 candidates in 2009. 3 candidates in 2014. 5, I think, in 2016. As I recall, 2007 was the only time I did not come in dead last. I came in 2nd to dead last that year. Oddly, after every race, and even during those races, people told me I was the only candidate who made sense and told the truth.
The photo below is me talking to my opponent, Craig Cates, at the 2016 Hometown PAC candidate forum he refused to attend after he won the primary without a runoff and then had to face write-in candidate me in the general election. That was the only time I ran for mayor as a write-in candidate, and the only time I got into the general election as a mayor candidate.