Request to drop out of school board race called undemocratic

A Calgary public school candidate says a letter from another candidate asking her to withdraw is undemocratic.

Calgary public board candidate emailed rival, asking her to drop off the ballot

Trina Hurdman, left, and Misty Hamel speak to reporters on nomination day Sept. 23 after filing papers to run for the public school board in wards 6 and 7. (CBC)

A Calgary public school candidate says a letter from another candidate asking her to withdraw is undemocratic.

The two are going up against George Lane, the incumbent in wards 6 and 7.

Misty Hamel received the email from rival candidate Trina Hurdman on nomination day.

"So basically what I want to ask you is if there is any way you would consider removing your name from the ballot,” the email said in part.

Hamel said the ploy seemed underhanded.

“I was surprised that she thought that I would even consider just dropping out because she felt like she was worthy of the vote,” Hamel said.

Hurdman defends move, then apologizes

Hurdman defended the email, saying it is a standard political move when trying to unseat an incumbent.

“The intent was to see if we share the same values and if we do, to support one another rather than, yes exactly, vote splitting,” she said.

Hurdman told CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener Monday she has been active in education board issues for many years, while Hamel has not.

“When she comes in on nomination day obviously unprepared then I think, you know what, why don’t you let someone that’s been doing it for the past three years continue,” Hurdman said.

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt agreed it’s a common tactic, but he said people should expect emails to get leaked.

“Normally these sorts of conversations occur with handlers, over the phone, or in private, not in an email.”

But Hurdman seemed to backtrack after her Eyeopener interview.

"Dear #yycvote: I made an obviously wrong statement on CBC today [and] I have apologized. Of course it's not up to me to allow [people] to run #yycbe," she tweeted.


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