EDMONTON – When there are 32 candidates vying for one spot on city council, it’s hard to wade through the political messages. The Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED gave candidates the chance to share their messages in a public forum on Tuesday, in a sudden death format called ‘Last Candidate Standing.’
Originally, the show was approached by several candidates, asking to be on-air with the radio host.
“We said we can’t do that unless we extend an invitation to all 32 of them,” host Ryan Jespersen said.
“A light bulb went on, and we thought, ‘Why can’t we do this?'”
Jespersen said the format is unprecedented, much like the candidates list for the Ward 12 byelection on Feb.22, 2016. The spot was left open by now federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who was elected as Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods in October.
Twenty-one candidates accepted the invitation to appear on the radio show. Each one was guaranteed one question, and had one minute to answer. Listeners then voted for who they wanted to hear more from, and that candidate moved on to the next round.
In the end there were three – the owner of Cured Wine Bar in Ellerslie, Field Pieterse, website creator Lincoln Ho, and independent contractor Rakesh Patel.
They were all asked one question by Jespersen.
“In a field of 32 candidates, what separates you?”
“I have a vision, I’m young,” Ho answered first.”I have actual plans laid out on my campaign page. I’m a man with a plan.”
Next up was Pieterse.
“I’m running in this election because I truly care what’s in this community.”
Last to answer was Rakesh Patel, who said, “I’m different from the others because I’m a young candidate, (a) quick decision maker.”
Jespersen called it a morning to remember. The fast-paced format definitely allowed some candidates to shine, while others fell behind.
In the end, Jespersen said he hoped it gave residents a chance to better get to know the people who could soon be sitting on Edmonton city council, if not to make a final decision of who they will vote for, to at least narrow down the list.