Beyond the Headlines

The campaign to replace Kelly

Posted: Feb 23, 2012 11:43 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 23, 2012 11:43 AM ET

One can only imagine the initial thought that ran through Mike Savage's mind when he first heard the news that Mayor Peter Kelly will not be seeking re-election.
You could hardly fault him, if his first impulse was to run down to city hall to check out his new digs. After all, in a poll released last week Savage had a commanding lead with the support of 53% of decided voters, and that poll was done when Kelly was still in the race, and before the stories broke of Kelly's role as the executor of a widow's estate.
But as we all saw on Wednesday the political landscape can change dramatically and quickly.
Don Mills, of Corporate Research Associates, who has conducted political polls for years, knows that all too well. The campaign for the mayor's chair has changed drastically, and Mills believes that with Kelly out, we may see new candidates come forward.
"It may encourage other people who might have been thinking about it before Savage got in, to think that they may have an opportunity now to get in," said Mills.
Mills points to NDP MLA Howard Epstein, who was interested but didn't want to run against Kelly.
But Mills doesn't expect to see a rush of councillors jumping into the race, saying, "any polling we've done that has run names of councillors, nobody has any traction."
Mills says Kelly's departure will change the whole tenor of the campaign.
"The one good thing about the incumbent leaving the race, is the race will become about the future, and a vision for the future, so it will be mostly a positive campaign, rather than a negative one."
Right now there are four declared candidates: Mike Savage, former police officer Tom Martin, salon owner Fred Connors, and Dal student Matthew Worona. If Mills is right we can expect at least one more high profile candidate to join them.
So let's start the ball rolling. Who would you like to see join the list of people vying to run our city? Think big. Think outside the box. And most importantly share your wishlist with all of us by using our comments section below. Who knows: maybe you'll help convince the next mayor of Halifax to join the campaign.
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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