Moncton mayoral speculation begins

Now that Moncton mayor George LeBlanc has announced he will not seek re-election in May’s municipal election, the focus shifts to who might fill the position.

Race to replace George LeBlanc underway for May election

Speculation has already started about who will run for mayor of Moncton in the 2016 election. The names of former Liberal cabinet minister Michael Murphy (left), Coun. Charles Leger and Coun. Dawn Arnold have all been mentioned. (CBC)

Now that Moncton mayor George LeBlanc has announced he will not seek re-election in May's municipal election, the focus shifts to who might fill the position.

Brian Cormier, a Moncton-based communications professional and political watcher, says LeBlanc's decision not to reoffer was the worst-kept secret in Moncton, however the list of potential successors is not as clear.

Mayor George LeBlanc declared Monday he would not run in the May municipal election. (CBC)
One name that comes up often, according to Cormier, is Dawn Arnold, who was first elected in 2012 as councillor-at-large and is the chair of the Frye Festival.

"I think the obvious front-runner right now is Dawn Arnold," says Cormier. "I think I'd be shocked, and so would a lot of other people, if she did not run."

In a written statement to the CBC, Arnold said she feels it's too early to begin an election campaign and may make an announcement at a later date.

"Running for mayor is a decision I don't take lightly, and I have not ruled anything out."

Too early to make decision

Cormier says another name from council he has heard talked about is Ward 2's Charles Léger.

Like Arnold, Léger says it's too early to make a decision.

"At this point, I think that all the options are on the table and I'm one to carefully consider what it is that is important for my future and the future of Moncton," says Léger.

One possible wildcard candidate not currently on council is former MLA Mike Murphy.

Communications professional and political watcher Brian Cormier has heard several names suggested as a possible candidates for the mayor's job in Moncton. (CBC)
Cormier says he's just heard rumours at this point, but feels Murphy could pose a challenge to Arnold.

"We haven't had a really strong, close mayoralty election for a number of years. Between Dawn Arnold and Mike Murphy you would certainly see that," said Cormier.

When contacted about any interest in running, Murphy said he was not ready to comment at this time.

Boudreau not interested

In a written statement, veteran city councillor Pierre Boudreau said he has no interest in becoming mayor, but feels it will not be heavily contested.

"As far as the mayoralty is concerned, I believe Dawn Arnold will be elected, unfortunately by acclamation, which will result in an even lower voter turnout than the usual dismal numbers we've seen in the past."

Boudreau added he would not elaborate on his comments.

Those wishing to run for mayor must submit their nomination by 2 p.m. on April 8, 2016. Polling day is May 9.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated that Dawn Arnold was the founder of the Frye Festival. Dawn Arnold is the chair of the Frye Festival.
    Jan 06, 2016 12:08 PM AT