This is the first seriously competitive race for the mayor's seat since 1999 when Alan Lowe defeated Bob Friedland and Geoff Young to become mayor.
Alan Lowe was broadly acceptable as mayor though few people were excited by him. In contrast Dean Fortin has a lot more people out there that do not like how he has been as mayor.
Dean Fortin is facing a very strong challenge from Lisa Helps. Lisa comes to the race with by far the largest and best organized municipal election campaign I have seen in this region. It is on the scale and organization of a good campaign to become MP.
The wildcard in this race is Ida Chong, will she run? I keep hearing that she might and even been told who some of her campaign team is but so far I have seen nothing. If she does run I do not think she can win but how will she change the vote? Who benefits from her being in the race?
All six incumbents are running and several strong new comers, in fact four people I could call strong contenders. 2014 is a very different race than 2011 when only 8 people ran for council of which only three were incumbents. Even thought it is still a month to the close of nominations, 2014 looks like it will be the strongest field for council in a generation.
Normally in our local elections incumbents have a huge advantage because of how the system works. One impact of having all the incumbents run and four strong contenders is that the electoral math improves for the challengers.
Our municipal electoral system is about the worst possible voting system you could devise. When you can choose up to six for Esquimalt Council how people approach this makes for huge impacts on the outcomes. There are two major tendencies. The politically active tend to only cast a couple of votes for the people they really like. The majority of the public will vote all six of their ballots which means they are looking for names to round out their ballot. It means that each voter a new candidate attracts to the polls will on average give half a vote to each of the incumbents because they do not know any of the other people on the ballot. With four stronger challengers in Esquimalt this time that is much less likely to happen because the public will know enough challenger names to dilute the benefit to the incumbents
With the improved electoral math I think the ten most serious candidates all have a reasonable chance of being elected.
With Larry Cross not running for re-election which opens the seat up and there are two clear strong challengers for the position.
- Don Amos - the mayor from 1996 to 2008
- Steve Price, current councilor backed the existing council and the outgoing mayor
I am very interested to understand what the dynamic is in this election. Why is Don Amos not getting support of any or the existing councilors? Why have the existing councilors and outgoing mayor been so quick to endorse Steve Price? Is Don Amos the Mel Couvelier of 2014? Mel ran in 2008 and badly lost to Larry Cross.
Yes, there is a third candidate in the race, Steve Duck, but I can not see how he will have any chance at all in the election. To get elected in Sidney it matters how strong your local networks are and Don Amos and Steve Price both are networked to the hilt
This is the sixth election in Sooke and we will see the town elect their fourth mayor. Longevity in office does not seem to be a Sooke thing.
Wendal Milne was elected in 2011 but is not running again. There are three sitting councilors that plan to run to replace him.
- Herb Haldane
- Kevin Peason
- Maja Tait
A three way serious race will make it very interesting
- The Central Saanich mayor's race may become interesting.
- North Saanich is very divided so I would expect there to be some fireworks in the mayor and council race. The question is does Ted Daly want to be mayor again?
- I do not expect the Saanich mayor's race to be very competitive and I do not think the council race will see any of the incumbents lose