British Columbia·CITY VOTES 2014

5 election races to watch in Metro Vancouver

From a dead-heat in Surrey, to tough challenges in Vancouver and New Westminster, here are five races to watch in Metro Vancouver Saturday night.

In the dying days of the civic election campaigns, here are five races that have grabbed attention

Vancouver

The Vancouver mayoral candidates left to right: Meena Wong, Gregor Roberton, and Kirk LaPointe. (CBC)

Gregor Robertson believes – or wants voters to believe – that this race is extremely tight.

He offered a vague apology this week, in an effort to appeal to COPE supporters who feel he hasn’t gone far enough to address issues of affordability in the city, and NPA supporters upset at a perceived lack of consultation on bike lanes, and residential developments.

Robertson’s main challengers are former Vancouver Sun editor Kirk LaPointe of the Non Partisan Association and Meena Wong of the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). The key issues in the civic election campaign are once again affordability and transportation.

Surrey

Left to right, Surrey mayoral candidates Linda Hepner, Doug McCallum and Barinder Rasode. (CBC)

If the polls are to be believed, this is the tightest race in Metro Vancouver — a three way dead-heat between Doug McCallum, Barinder Rasode and Linda Hepner.

McCallum is a former three-term mayor, seeking to reclaim the seat he lost nine years ago in a bitter campaign against former ally Diane Watts, who accused McCallum of bullying tactics.

Watts is endorsing Coun. Linda Hepner’s mayoral bid, and former Watts ally Barinder Rasode rounds out the top three.

All three candidates have made crime and public safety their top priority, promising to hire more police officers, and put more officers in uniform, on street patrols.

Coquitlam

Coquitlam mayoral candidates Lou Sekora (l) and Richard Stewart. (coquitlam.ca/Twitter)

Does Lou Sekora have another election victory in him? He held Coquitlam’s top job from 1983 to 1997 before leaving to run federally.

Now, at 82 years old, he promises he still has the energy to be mayor, and unseat incumbent Richard Stewart, who is seeking a third term.

Sekora has been on council since 2005, and Stewart notes Sekora is often the lone dissenting voice on important votes. Sekora is campaigning on cutting spending, Stewart on maintaining services.

Richmond

Richmond mayoral candidates Malcolm Brodie (l) and Richard Lee. (Twitter/Facebook)

Believe it or not, Richmond has had only three mayors since 1974. Malcolm Brodie has held the top job for the last 13 years. But he’s facing his toughest challenge yet, in the form of Richard Lee.

Brodie has cruised to victory in recent campaigns, and actually won by a more than two-to-one margin over Lee in 2011. 

But Lee was running as an independent back then, and this time has formed his own political slate, as he seeks to become the first Asian mayor in a city where half the population has Chinese roots.

New Westminster

New Westminster mayoral candidates Jonathan Cote (l) and Wayne Wright. (votecote.ca/Facebook)

On the surface, it would seem a lock for Wayne Wright. Mayor since 2002, in a city not noted for scandal, or political back-biting. But Wright faces a very real challenge in a competitor half his age, council veteran Jonathan Cote.

Cote has secured the support of all four incumbent councillors, and the New Westminster Labour council. Wright is framing himself as an underdog, taking on a “machine” – big labour.

The backdrop for this election is once again, frustration over traffic congestion, but also the transformation of the downtown core as New West continues to attract young people and families priced out of Vancouver, or seeking a quieter lifestyle.

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