On Wednesday (June 1) a little before noon, Democrat Susan Sandberg filed paperwork with Monroe County to form an exploratory committee to run for mayor of the city of Bloomington in 2023.
That means her campaign can accept financial contributions, but does not require that she eventually declare her candidacy for mayor. Candidates for city council, mayor, and clerk can’t file a formal declaration until early January 2023.
Sandberg currently serves as president of the city council, a post to which she was elected at the start of the year. The vote for council president was split 5–4 in favor of Sandberg over Matt Flaherty.
Sandberg also served as council president in 2008, 2011 and 2017. She has also served a couple years as council vice president and one year as parliamentarian.
Like the mayor and the city clerk, the nine city councilmembers serve four-year terms. All nine members of the council, the mayor, and the clerk, are elected every four years. That means if Sandberg declares her candidacy for mayor in 2023, there will be at least one open seat on the city council with no incumbent running.
Sandberg was a campaign co-chair for mayor John Hamilton’s 2019 re-election bid. Hamilton has not made a formal announcement of his intention to run for reelection in 2023, but is expected to.
Sandberg serves as one of three at-large council representatives on the council. That means she is elected by all voters of the city, not just those from one of Bloomington’s six districts. In 2019, the most recent municipal cycle, no elections were held for at-large council seats in November. That’s because the three Democrats—Sandberg, Flaherty, and Jim Sims—were all unopposed on the ballot.
In the 2019 Democratic Party primary, Sandberg was the top vote-getter among the at-large candidates, with 2,993 votes (21.54 percent). Sims had 2,728 votes (19.63 percent) and Flaherty received 2,564 votes (18.45 percent). Rounding out the field that year were Vauhxx Booker, Jean Capler, and Andy Ruff.
Sandberg was formerly a career advisor at the Career Development Office of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).
Sandberg has served on council since January 2007 when she was chosen by the Monroe County Democratic Party caucus to replace Chris Gaal, following his election as Monroe County prosecutor. She was elected to an at-large seat in November 2007, then re-elected in 2011 and 2015.
Sandberg first ran for council in 2003 in District 2, but was defeated by Republican Jason Banach by a vote of 477 to 562.
In the 2019 campaign, Sandberg said that public safety and basic city services would remain her budget priorities. Last year, Sandberg along with Dave Rollo and Ron Smith, pushed the council to call on Hamilton’s administration to increase police pay. The new labor contract with the police union, with a 13-percent initial pay increase, was approved by the city council a couple of weeks ago.
Over the years Sandberg has served on a variety of city advisory groups. She has served on the Bloomington plan commission, the Jack Hopkins social services funding committee, and the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding citizens advisory committee.
Sandberg is a founding member of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, a political action committee, and previously served as the vice chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party.
She is a member of a ukulele band, The UkeTones. Sandberg graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.