It’s election season here in Guelph! The nominations are open for this fall’s Municipal Election, and interested residents are filing their papers to run for positions as mayor, for city council and for a spot on one of the local school boards. Each week, this space will break down who’s new to the race, who’s running again, and where we’re still waiting for someone to show an interest!
This week, two of the last three councillors with question marks next to their names announced that they will, in fact, be running for re-election this fall.
Dan Gibson will work to defend his position as Ward 1 councillor in the biggest race of the election so far with Gibson and four challengers. As the returning champion, Gibson has a pretty good hand to play, re-elected for a second term in 2018 by winning 27.18 per cent of the vote in an eight-person race. He’s well-liked and highly visible in the community while being a strong fiscal conservative and incrementalist in the council chambers.
The second returning candidate is in Ward 3. Phil Allt, who was first elected in the same year as Gibson, filed his papers this week where he faces two rookie competitors in Guelph’s centre most district. Allt has very good odds having won 36.74 per cent of the vote in a five-person race in 2018, and even coming in first place in his first election unseating long-time Ward 3 councillor Maggie Laidlaw. The retired history teacher is a well-known voice of reason and a stickler for procedure on council, and is one of the founders of the very successful Breezy Breakfast meet-up on Thursday morning.
There were no other candidates who filed their papers this week.
Now, Ward 4 Councillor Christine Billings is the only member of the current city council to not announce their intentions for this fall.
Having said that, the real news is the continued anemic school board race which only features one candidate for 11 different positions, and none of the current incumbent trustees have filed their own nomination papers yet. There was election news at the Upper Grand District School Board meeting this past week when Mark Bailey announced that he would not be seeking re-election this year. This leaves at least one vacancy among the five Guelph seats on the Upper Grand Board.
For city council, while there are compelling races for Ward 1 and Ward 2, there are still only two candidates running in Ward 4 and Ward 5, and in the case of Ward 5, both of the candidates are incumbents. Although there are three people running in Ward 6, two of the three are the incumbent councillors, which could make it tough for an insurgent campaign to breakthrough.
As for the mayor’s race, current mayor Cam Guthrie has been ramping up his re-election efforts, but the question is why, and against who? Back in 2018 it wasn’t until July that a competitor emerged, so we will see if history ends up repeating itself?
The deadline for applying to run for mayor, city council, or any of the school board positions is August 19 at 2 pm. Election Day is October 24.