The first among four Cape Coral City Council incumbents has filed the paperwork to run for re-election.
Rick Williams submitted his initial financial paperwork to run again in District 6 last Friday.
Williams, who emphasized he has not officially announced his candidacy, said that, after thinking about it and considering all that's happening in District 6, he decided to try to re-up for another four years.
"There are a lot of things I've accomplished and many things I want to accomplish. I'm fairly well liked, and by filing the paperwork early I'm hoping to chase some people away," Williams said.
Although the mayor's race is heating up with multiple candidates, as of Thursday, Williams is also the first candidate at all to file for one of the three council seats up for grabs.
In addition to the mayor's seat, currently held by Marni Sawicki and the District 6 seat held by Williams, the District 1 and 4 seats - held by council members Jim Burch and Richard Leon - are up this year.
As formal qualifying is still months away, Leon has not yet filed paperwork or announced, but said he intends to seek re-election.
"I'm just working for the city and trying to make sure I get the job done for those who voted for me," Leon said. "I'll keep doing what they want me to do and focus on the election in a few months."
Neither Burch nor Sawicki could be reached for comment Thursday.
Sawicki previously has said she is still undecided. As she considers her options, four challengers have already submitted filing forms to the City Clerk's Office.
Mayoral candidates thus far include District 5 incumbent Rana Erbrick, former Cape council member Derrick Donnell, retiring Lee County employee Sherry Leonard and, new this week, Michael Hallow.
"I'm 100 percent committed to this city. I've been involved over the years and I wanted to change the face of the city and lead it back to integrity and respect," said Hollow, who decided to run following his retirement from the Lee County Sheriff's Office in October.
Actual qualifying for this year's municipal election begins at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, July 3. Qualifying ends at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 7.
Candidates may announce at any time but must file a form that appoints a campaign treasurer and designates a campaign depository with the City Clerk's Office before accepting any donations.
Election dates are Sept. 12 for the primary, if needed, and Nov. 7 for the non-partisan general election.
If each candidate who has filed their initial paperwork formally qualifies this summer, the mayor's race is already heading for a primary and a general election runoff.