Mayoral pool still plenty deep
by Devin Ayotte
Fifteen candidates are vying for the mayoral post that Dave Bronconnier is vacating next month, but Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt said it will be business as usual at the civic polls on
The 2007 election is a case- in-point: then-incumbent Bronconnier ran in a field of only nine other mayoral candidates, taking 61 per cent of the vote — more than three times that of Alnoor Kassam, his nearest competitor. Kassam, who spent over a million dollars of his own money in that election, pulled out of this year’s race on Sept. 17 to throw his support behind former CTV News anchor Barb Higgins.
Although the surge in the number of candidates is routine, as in Bronconnier’s 2001 defeat of 17 competitors for incumbent Al Duerr’s seat, the sheer number of candidates is not without its consequences. “It’s going to make it very difficult to run proper forums,” Bratt said. “You’re almost going to have to remove some of the candidates. Otherwise, you end up with 20-second answers (to questions put to candidates).” As far as the quality of candidates in a larger pool is concerned, however, Bratt said he was optimistic.
“I’d say there are about seven or eight serious candidates, but they are not all equal in money or support.”
Bratt rejected the idea that an excess of candidates will siphon votes away from serious contenders. “There are what I call tier-one candidates, tier-two candidates… a couple sort of ‘single- issue’ candidates, and finally, there are a couple people who run every year and they get about 50 votes.”
Mount Royal nursing stu- dents Ashley Chernoff and Carrie Campbell are equally unfazed by the numbers or their potential effect on the outcome of the election. “If you want a qualified person, you will vote for a qualified person,” Chernoff said. “I don’t think it would matter how many (candidates).”
“I think 17 is a relatively low number considering any Joe Blow can run for mayor,” Campbell added, referring to the amount of candidates before nomination papers were filed. “I’ve seen a lot of election post- ers, but no names have stuck.”
The City of Calgary will be mailing out information includ- ing the names of candidates for the mayor, aldermanic and school board trustee positions as well as the locations of vot- ing stations in the first week of October. The general election is Oct. 18, and advance polls will be at Mount Royal on Oct. 6 and 12, between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.