INDIO – Former Indio Mayor and Councilmember Michael H. Wilson is floating a trial balloon testing the waters for a potential 2022 bid for Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor.
In a Sunday morning Facebook post, Wilson teased that incumbent Supervisor V. Manuel “Manny” Perez could have an opponent in 2022.
“Always have to keep ‘em guessing and on their toes,” Wilson told Uken Report. “Would I consider it? Yes, indeed. This is just to put it out there and get a feel as well. I have a year or so to make a formal decision.”
It is not the first time Wilson, 53, has had his eye on the Supervisor’s seat. Wilson also had designs on the seat in 2018.
In mid-2017, Wilson fueled speculation about a bid earlier this year with some of his actions. He posted a new official portrait on his Facebook page that was nothing short of a political campaign photo. He was simultaneously holding fundraisers. His supporters and followers predicted an announcement was eminent.
They theorized that he would challenge Fourth District Supervisor Manuel Perez for a seat on the board. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Perez to the District 4 seat, which covers the Coachella Valley, until the November 2018 election. He was appointed to fill the seat left vacant in the wake of Supervisor John Benoit’s death in December 2016.
The speculation about Wilson was not unfounded.
“I seriously considered it,” Wilson told Uken Report at the time. “Then I heard rumblings of Jan Harnik running. Jan had the quicker jump and had the organization in place.”
For the health of the Republican Party, Wilson said he decided not to run.
“The thing about the Republicans is that we’ve run over each other and practically killed each other to gain victory rather than putting our values out there.”
He said he is putting “everything” he has behind Harnik.
“But,” he added, “I won’t guarantee that I won’t run against her in the future.”
Harnik, who serves as mayor of Palm Desert, started fundraising in March 2017 and formally announced her candidacy in May of 2017. She lost to Perez in the June 2018 contest.
Wilson lived in Indio for 48 years. He is a retired firefighter and former battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
The trial balloon for 2022 comes two months after Wilson, who served the city of Indio for 21 year, lost his re-election bid to Waymond Fermon. According to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters certified election results, Fermon garnered 1,920 votes to Wilson’s 1,772, a difference of 4 percentage points, or 148 votes.
He first considered a recount and at the 11th hour cancelled it. Now, he’s flirting with the idea of running for a countywide office in 2022.
Wilson’s trial balloon comes as he has on more than occasion suggested that one or both of the newly seated Councilmembers, Oscar F. Ortiz and Fermon, be recalled.
The 2022 trial balloon is also floated as Wilson is bullied on social media.
He is unfazed.