Attorney and Democratic state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis announced today that he will run for mayor of Charleston, entering a crowded field of eight announced candidates to replace longtime Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Stavrinakis, a West Ashley resident, has served in the state legislature since 2007. He previously served on Charleston County Council from 1999 to 2006 and was board chairman in 2005 and 2006. In an e-mail announcing his candidacy, Stavrinakis highlights his role in writing and passing the Boland Act, which created a database to prevent certain mentally ill people from purchasing guns.

The press release also describes Stavrinakis as having a “hands-on approach.”

“My plan is practical and straightforward: Fix our streets. Tackle traffic. Improve the schools. Keep people safe. Keep taxes low. And demand excellence in everything we do,” Stavrinakis says.

The election promises to be a humdinger. Dean Riegel became the first candidate to announce his intention to run in October 2013, and others have joined in since. With nine months to go, here is the list of announced candidates:

• Richard “Dick” Elliott, president and founder of Maverick Southern Kitchens

• Henry Fishburne, commercial realtor, developer, former city councilman

• Wendell Gilliard, state representative and former union leader

• William Dudley Gregorie, city councilman

• Dean C. Riegel, city councilman and senior vice president of business development at Carolina Center for Occupational Health

• Leonidas E. “Leon” Stavrinakis, state representative and attorney

• John J. Tecklenburg, commercial realtor and former city director of economic development

• Paul E. Tinkler, attorney and former city councilman

Ginny Deerin, Riley’s former campaign manager and founder of the nonprofit organizations WINGS for Kids and Project XX, has not officially announced her candidacy. But as the Post and Courier has reported, she has recently moved from Sullivan’s Island to Charleston and filed paperwork with the State Ethics Commission as a candidate in the race.

Stavrinakis is starting his fundraising race at the back of the pack. His initial filing with the State Ethics Commission shows he has only raised $1,000 so far. Tecklenburg holds the lead with $133,696 raised as of Jan. 9.

The mayoral election will take place Nov. 3, with a likely runoff election on Nov. 17. The filing deadline for mayoral candidates has not yet been set but will likely be in mid-August.

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