A key unanswered question hanging over the upcoming election season is which office County Commissioner Loretta Smith will pursue.

Smith, who is prevented by term limits from seeking a third term, has been mentioned as a possible challenger to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman or as a challenger to County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury.

The filing window for the May 2018 primary election doesn't officially open until Sept. 7, but multiple elected officials and notable community leaders have already announced their intention to run for City Council or the Legislature.

Jo Ann Hardesty, who is challenging Saltzman, told WW that Smith plans to challenge Kafoury. (Smith declined to respond to that assertion.)

There's one purely practical reason Smith may be inclined to wait. If she's running for City Council, she can't formally declare until January without resigning her current post. The county charter dictates that county commissioners can't run for most offices midterm, which the charter defines as any time up to their last year in office. Smith's second (and final) term expires at the end of 2018.

Under a charter change that took effect at the beginning of the year, county commissioners can declare for the chair's race before the final year of their term. Smith's reticence suggests she's looking at City Hall. (Smith declined to comment.)

Another variable: City Commissioner Nick Fish announced last week he has stomach cancer. It's too early to say whether his health or treatment could impact his plans to run next year. Fish "is fully engaged" and "as of now intends to run," says his chief of staff, Sonia Schmanski.