From whatcha call “sources close to” the situation, I was told seven weeks ago that Nancy McFarlane, the District A City Council member, would be announcing her 2011 mayoral candidacy very soon. This is the kind of thing one might’ve breathlessly reported; but then, if it was true, she’d have announced very soon anyway, so what was the point?

Seven weeks later — i.e., beyond soon, let alone very soon — McFarlane hasn’t announced. But yesterday, the postcard shown above arrived in my mailbox at home. Fyi, my home is not in District A. On its face, it’s a personal message from N. M. encouraging everyone in Raleigh to “Shine!” this weekend when the NHL All-Star game comes to town. It’s paid for by the Nancy McFarlane for City Council campaign. It features her campaign logo.

Is it mere public service? A move to boost McFarlane’s standing in mayoral polls soon to be taken? (She’s probably the least well-known Council member.) Or is it the prelim to an announcement that will now occur very soon?

I was wrong two years ago in saying that Charles Meeker wouldn’t run for another term as mayor, so I won’t say flatly that Charles Meeker won’t run for still another term this year, as unlikely (if you’ve been watching him) as that seems at present.

If he doesn’t, Meeker could support McFarlane, who’s been a dependable ally. He could support at-large Councilors Mary-Ann Baldwin or Russ Stephenson, also dependable allies (except, in Stephenson’s case, on the Lightner Center issue).

A complication for McFarlane is that she’s a political independent, neither Republican nor Democrat. That could be an advantage if she gets in early and sews up support from both sides. It won’t be, however, if a credible Democrat announces first, followed by a credible Republican. Fact is, most voters are partisan. It’s non-voters who aren’t. As Jim Hightower aptly said of politics, the middle-of-the-road is where you find yellow stripes and dead armadillos.