Group challenging Kuder election to Centralia mayor’s seat

CENTRALIA — There’s a new twist in the saga surrounding Centralia’s mayor’s seat – the Centralia Chapter of the NAACP is asking that Mayor-Elect Bryan Kuder not be seated until issues surrounding his original election are resolved.

Kuder filed a lawsuit in Marion County in 2019 after the Centralia City Council vacated his 2019 election victory.

He sought a court ruling naming him the rightful and duly elected mayor of the city but that case has dragged on for nearly two years without a decision. In a special election earlier this month, Centralia voters again handed Kuder a victory with a 66% margin over his opponent Herb Williams.

The city council had appointed Williams to the mayor’s seat after they vacated Kuder’s victory.

The letter from the NAACP lodges a formal protest against Kuder being seated based on several issues including the fact that his court case not yet been resolved.

It also claims Kuder should not have been allowed on the ballot due to residency requirements.

They make the same claim that convinced the city council in 2019 to vacate Kuder’s election victory — that he and lives in his residence in Washington County and he’s being dishonest when he says he is not.

Kuder has claimed he has an apartment in Centralia where he resides.

It would be up to the current city council if another challenge to seating Kuder is made.

Three of the current council members were on the council when the original decision was made.

Two of those three – Andre Marshall and David Sauer — voted in favor of vacating Kuder’s election. Howard Jones abstained as he ran against Kuder for the mayor’s seat.

Only Sauer will remain on the council after the newly elected members are sworn in at either the April 26 or May 10 meeting.