Who will come out on top on election day?
When it comes to civic elections, incumbents usually rule the day. The upcoming election on Nov. 19 will likely continue that pattern – with a few notable exceptions.
In Surrey, the ever-popular Mayor Dianne Watts is running against a number of low-profile candidates and is considered a shoe-in. Her back-to-basics consensus style of governing has won over so many voters she literally scared off any serious challengers. Not only will Watts be easily re-elected, but so too will well-known councillors Barinder Rasode, Linda Hepner and Marvin Hunt.
In neighbouring Coquitlam, you can expect former BC Liberal MLA Richard Stewart will easily win another term to office. The same goes for Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Burnaby’s outspoken and effective Mayor Derek Corrigan.
Where the races get more interesting are in places like West Vancouver where the mayor is retiring or in cities where several prominent candidates have suddenly emerged.
In New Westminster, four men are running for the top job. Incumbent Mayor Wayne Wright will be facing the biggest challenge of his political career as he squares off against high-profile community activist James Crosty.
Only hours into the campaign the fur was flying over Wright’s reference to his opponent’s lifestyle. Crosty is openly gay and the Mayor’s comments served to generate the first election issue.
In Port Moody, long-serving Mayor Joe Trasolini is stepping down after first being elected as a city councillor in 1996. His retirement means the door is wide open for a new arrival in the west wing. There are three candidates vying for the position with Robert Simons garnering most of the headlines so far.
In Vancouver the discussion will be less about the mayor’s position and more about who will secure one of the 10 council seats. With three veteran councillors stepping aside, it is assured there will be some renewal.
I’m expecting to see veterans like Vision’s Tim Stevenson and Raymond Louie get easily re-elected. The newbie with the highest likelihood of winning a seat will be Adriane Carr, former leader of the BC Green Party. You should also expect former COPE councillor Tim Louis along with the NPA’s Sean Bickerton, Elizabeth Ball and Mike Klassen to squeak into the top 10.
Regardless of who wins, we should acknowledge these people for putting their names on the ballot. Winning a spot on city council may sound glamorous, but it is often a thankless job that takes these people away from their family and friends. Therefore, I say let’s be grateful so many people expressed an interest in taking on the job.
NOTE: We conducted an interview with Green Party candidate Adriane Carr and it will be posted here in the coming days. We actually had the temerity to ask her who she would be voting for Mayor of Vancouver! You might be surprised by her answer...or maybe not. Tune in to find out.
- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus. This column was first published in 24 Hours Vancouver on Thursday, Oct 20th, 2011.