By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and a highly visible figure in the fight for a measure to give the mayor’s office more power is not registered to vote in Sacramento, CBS13 has learned.

Michelle Rhee has been a very visible part of her husband’s strong-mayor campaign for Measure L. The ballot measure would change the city’s charter to allow the mayor to hire and fire the city manager, as well as veto decisions by the city council.

But the only vote Rhee will cast will have to be in Tennessee, where she’s actually registered to vote. That’s where she has joint-custody of her children, and where the campaign says the former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor and founder of StudentsFirst spends most of her time.

On Tuesday, Rhee campaigned for her husband’s initiative in a debate in downtown Sacramento.

“Today we’ve had this news but what’s most important is regardless this isn’t about one single person its about whats best for Sacramento,” said Yes on L spokesman Josh Wood. “And she loves this city and she was speaking as the mayor’s wife.”

The surprise announcement comes just weeks before election day during a million-dollar political campaign that would give the mayor’s office broad new powers.

Political analyst Steve Swatt says the news derails Johnson’s message for now.

“It’s a a momentary distraction, and it’s because it takes the campaign off message, you have a spokesperson talking about Michelle Rhee’s voter registration situation,” he said.

Opponents of the strong-mayor initiative wasted little time jumping on the news that Johnson’s wife is not registered to vote in Sacramento.

“To invite other people to vote for measure L, and not be able to vote herself, is kind of curious,” said Kay Knepprath.

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