Posted by David Cournoyer
Over the next three weeks, conventional wisdom (and most election pundits) will tell you that unless there is a vacant seat, there is almost no chance of electing any new candidates to City Council. Don’t take this for gospel.
In reality, even though incumbents have a much higher rate of re-election, it isn’t unheard of for incumbents to be defeated. Though no incumbent has been defeated in recent elections, you only have to look back to the 1995 municipal election that saw five of nine incumbents seeking re-election defeated.
In the years before that, it wasn't uncommon for one or two incumbents to shown the door by their constituents every three years.
So, take a look at the issues in your Ward and how your incumbents’ records on Council stack up. Have your incumbent Councillors come through on their election promises from 2004? From 2001? Have they even done a decent job representing you? Is there another candidate who will do a better job?
With name recognition being such a big factor in municipal elections, and the reason most incumbents are usually easily re-elected, it’s up to voters to be extra diligent in taking the effort to notice of the other candidates in the races.
With a serious lack of credible contenders challenging Mayor Stephen Mandel, let’s hope that in 2007 Edmontonians will take a closer look at who they’re sending to City Council.
Leading up to the October 15 election day we'll be covering a plethora of issues on this blog, but don't stop paying attention if you have two incumbents running in your Ward.
The 'hot' races don't only have to be in the three Wards with retiring Councillors (Ward 3, 4, and 6). Edmontonians shouldn’t be afraid to shop around and buck a nine-year trend.