Former one term NDP MLA David Cubberly will be challenging incumbent Saanich mayor Frank Leonard for the job.
Frank Leonard has been mayor of Saanich since he was elected in the fall of 1996. In 2008 he had an easy campaign against Harald Wolf and in 2005 no one ran against him. I need to do some research on what happened in the 2002, 1999 and 1996. Oddly enough, the results are not available online anywhere that I can find. Before that he sat on council since 1986.
David Cubberley has a strong name recognition from his time on council from 1990 to 2002 and then his term as MLA from 2005 to 2009. If he is going to run for mayor, this is the election in which he has to do it otherwise he will have faded too much from the public memory.
With a race that is Cubberley v Leonard, the Saanich election will be very much one of NDP versus the Free Enterprise Coalition. At the moment the council is sort of split five on the Leonard side and four on the NDP side. Though keeping in mind that two of the councilors are bit more independent and not completely from one side or the other, those being Vic Derman and Paul Gerrard.
The NDP has a strong enough network to have a chance to get David Cubberley elected as mayor, though I would put the odds in Frank Leonard's court at the moment. The question becomes one of what happens in the race for council?
With a strong left/right race for the mayor's seat, turn out will be up and people will be looking for who to vote for to sit on the council. Which ever side has a slate together with their mayoralty candidate will have a very distinct advantage in the council races if they run a full slate. Supporters of David Cubberley will be looking to vote for 'his team' and the slate name on the ballot will be a huge benefit towards that.
What will happen if there are no slates is that about 30-40% of the people voting in the municipal election will be there to vote for their choice for mayor. They will also be voting for council candidates but really have no idea who they support. They will vote for the names on the ballot they recognize.
If there are slates, or especially if there is only one, the public will have a guide on the ballot on whom they might want to support and will have a significant impact on the council election. With only one slate, there are sitting incumbents that will be defeated. With no slates, all the incumbents running for re-election will win again.
It will be interesting to see what happens in this race.