As I was buttoning up the candidate questionnaires and looking ahead to election night through past election stats, I hit upon a question that interested me: How many of this year’s candidates have run before?
Incumbency has been an occasional point of conversation this election: How many terms is too many? Maybe what council needs is new blood. Et cetera. I’m not sure where I lean on the issue of term limits. On the one hand suggesting that someone should hold an elected position for a set number of terms stifles democracy; if the people want to vote for a person beyond a predetermined number of terms, why shouldn’t they be able to?
On the other hand though, maybe we should be conscious that a career politician, no matter how well meaning, might become as concerned about getting re-elected as doing the things they get re-elected for. Without too much implied partisanship (I hope), I compiled a list of 2014 candidates in the Municipal Election who have been on the ballot before going all the way back to 1997.
*For instance, current mayor Karen Farbridge was also running for re-election this time 17 years ago, but running for her Ward 1 council seat. She ran for mayor for the first time in 2000, and has been on the ballot for the city’s top job ever since.
*Gary Walton’s been on the ballot too since 1997. That year he was running for re-election to one of Ward 2’s council seats, before running for mayor against Farbridge in 2000. In 2003 and 2006 he tried unsuccessfully to run for a seat in Ward 2, and then ran for a seat in Ward 1 in 2010. This year, Walton is running in Ward 4.
*Also on the 1997 ballot was Cathy Downer who was running for re-election to her Ward 5 seat. She would retire from council in 2006 after winning two other re-election bids, and now she’s re-joined the election race in 2014 to reclaim a seat on council in Ward 5 once more.
*Christine Billings was on the ballot in 1997, running for re-election in Ward 6. She took the 2000 election off only to run again and win in 2003 and 2006. She took 2010 off again and is now running once more, this time in Ward 4.
*Maggie Laidlaw ran and lost in Ward 3 in 1997, but she managed to turnout a win in 2000 and has enjoyed re-election to her council seat every Election Day since. If she wins on October 27 she will become the longest serving member of Guelph City Council around the horseshoe.
*Karl Wettstein ran for the first time and won in 2000, but his re-election bid in 2003 came up short. He reclaimed a seat on council in 2006, and was easily re-elected again in 2010.
*Mark Briestensky ran for Ward 4 in 2003, and then ran for mayor in 2006. He returns to the ballot this year as one of nine candidates running in Ward 4.
*Ray Ferraro ran for Ward 2 in 2003 and won, but he lost in 2006 when a more progressive class of councillors was swept to power. Ferraro has attempted to regain a seat on council in every elect since, appearing on the ballot in 2010 and 2014.
*Presumptive frontrunner in the 2014 mayor’s race Cam Guthrie first can for city council in 2006, and although he came in third in Ward 4 that year, he easily won second place to Gloria Kovach in 2010.
*Craig Chamberlain has tried, unsuccessfully, to win a council seat in Ward 3 in 2006 and 2010; June Hofland, conversely, also ran in Ward 3 in 2006 and 2010 winning both times. So did Bob Bell, but in Ward 1.
*Mike Salisbury won in Ward 4 for the first time in 2006, but he lost his re-election bid in 2010.
*Leanne Piper’s first election as a Ward 5 council candidate was in 2006; she ran again in 2010 and won.
*In the 2010 election, Karolyne Pickett (Ward 1) and Dimitrios “Jim” Galatianos (Ward 3 in ’10, Ward 5 in ’14) ran for the first time and lost; Andy Van Hellemond (Ward 2) and Todd Dennis (Ward 6) ran for the first time and won.
*Although they haven’t run for municipal office before, these three are no stranger to the ballot box. Ward 3 candidate Phil Allt ran for the federal New Democrats in 2004 and 2006, while Ward 2’s James Gordon ran in 2011 and 2014 for the provincial NDP. Ward 4 candidate Greg Schirk also ran in 2011 Provincial Election, but for the Progressive Conservatives.