Former Edmonton mayor, city councillor weigh in on nomination day 2017

City Hall in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. April 16, 2015. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

Staffers at Edmonton city hall are hard at work checking the paperwork of nearly 100 potential candidates in Edmonton’s 2017 municipal election.

Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel and former councillor Kim Krushell stopped by 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show to talk about the race.

LISTEN: Stephen Mandel and Kim Krushell on the election on the Ryan Jespersen Show

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Mandel isn’t anticipating any surprises when the candidates’ list is released.

“If you’re not prepared by now, it’s not likely you’re going to have much of a campaign to win,” said Mandel. “So the candidates have been ready and willing working very hard for the last several months, really. So today is just a formality.”

Krushell agreed, adding that she would start preparing well in advance of nomination day.

“My first election, I was out a year in advance,” said Krushell. “I understood that this is a name recognition name game.

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“People vote for who they know, and the key thing is to get to those doors. Just the fact you show up at their door they will remember that, and if they do vote they’ll likely put that checkbox next to your name.”

Krushell says that’s part of the reason that incumbent candidates have such an advantage in elections.

And Mandel said that’s even more true this year for Mayor Don Iveson.

“There’s not a lot of–at least I haven’t seen–credible competition for Mayor Iveson,” said Mandel. “So the mayoralty race drives the turnout for the election, and so one would assume this would be a very low turnout, because the mayor’s race is the one that drives people to the polls, so it makes it even more difficult for an incumbent to get defeated in this kind of environment.”

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WATCH BELOW: Edmonton’s city hall was packed Monday morning, as municipal election candidates filed the paperwork to get their names on the ballot. Fletcher Kent reports live on Global News at Noon.

Click to play video: 'Nomination day for Edmonton’s 2017 municipal election'
Nomination day for Edmonton’s 2017 municipal election

Krushell added the fact it’s Iveson’s first term will work in his favour.

“If you look at Edmonton history usually a mayoral candidate, unless they do something majorly wrong, they get two terms for sure,” Krushell said. “The question becomes in the third term, if they don’t run then obviously you get tons of candidates stepping up.”

Mandel says there’s another reason that no one is stepping into the ring to face Iveson.

“It’s incredibly expensive to run a mayoralty campaign. And so you need to have excellent name recognition to begin with, and then a lot of money. And you’re going to spend $600,000 plus to run a mayoralty campaign.”

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As for the rest of the election, it’s likely that council’s continuing troubles with major infrastructure projects will colour the race.

But Mandel thinks it’s unfair to blame the council for the mistakes of administration.

“The role of implementing and costing out projects it is exclusively the role of the administration,” he explained. “And if they are not able to do the job, they need to be accountable for it. But it’s hard to blame councillors for projects that are not on time and on budget because we don’t have really anything to do with that process. We can question, we can challenge, but once it leaves the approval process of council, administration then takes over.”

Mandel said he doubts that council replacing city manager Simon Farbrother with Linda Cochrane will have any impact on voters’ perceptions.

Krushell said the best thing you can do as a voter, is to get to know who’s running.

“That’s the first thing you got to do,” said Krushell. “So you as a resident reach out and see, go to a coffee party and actually meet these candidates.”

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The candidates list will be released by 4 p.m. on Monday. Nominees have until 12 p.m. Tuesday to withdraw. Edmontonians go to the polls on Monday, Oct. 16.

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