As the mayor’s race in Calgary gets heated, it could mean that there might be some shakeups when it comes to council seats as well.
There will be at least four fresh new faces on council after Ward 3 Councillor Jim Stevenson, Ward 6 Councillor Richard Pootmans and Ward 11 Councillor Brian Pincott announced they would not be seeking re-election.
Following the a change in ward boundaries, current Ward 5 Councillor Ray Jones announced he would be running in Ward 10, which was previously held my mayoral hopeful Andre Chabot.
Mount Royal University political analyst Duane Bratt said he believes that a strong mayoral race will result in a higher turnout at the polls.
“Voter turnout is based on the mayor’s race,” said Bratt. “Because you’ve got this strong race here it’s going to be over 50 per cent turnout which then they go and vote in ward races and trustee race as well.”
In addition to the wards without an incumbent, there are two wards that Bratt thinks could see councillors unseated.
Evan Woolley won this seat in 2013 over incumbent Councillor John Mar. Ward 8 has a history of voting out the incumbent despite the fact that normally the previous councillor is considered to have an advantage heading into the election.
“That is one unlike any one else in the city,” explained Bratt. “They regularly toss out incumbents.”
Woolley has three people running against him, Carter Thomson, Karla Charest and Chris Davis.
Bratt pointed out that Davis has been campaigning for more than a year.
“Chris has been campaigning for well over a year against Woolley. It’s your classic Liberal vs Conservative, Woolley vs Davis head-to-head.”
Incumbent Councillor Druh Farrell was first elected in Ward 7 in 2001.
In the last two elections, Farrell narrowly defeated her opponents, most recently in 2013 capturing 37 per cent of the votes.
She is considered one of the more polarizing council members, but Bratt said her advantage is that the people that are opposed to her don’t live in her ward.
“The people that really love her are in her ward, the people who really hate her live outside her ward.”
Farrell is being challenged by three hopefuls, Margot Aftergood, Dean Brawn and Brent Alexander.
Alexander also ran against Farrell in 2013.
“Brent Alexander appears to be racing hard against her. That’s always a race to watch because Druh Farrell always has a target on her back.”