With just a few days left to officially enter the race to become Vancouver’s next mayor, Vision Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer is now thinking about throwing her name in the ring.
Reimer decided nearly a year ago not to run again as a city councillor or pursue the mayor’s job.
But with the surprise decision by Ian Campbell to step down as the Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate, the three-term city councillor is now having second thoughts.
“The last thing I thought I would be thinking about at this point in the 2018 election is running for mayor, but it’s been anything but a predictable election. I supported Ian Campbell, and it’s been a hard week,” Reimer said. “But now Vision is without a candidate and friends and colleagues have contacted me and urged me to reconsider my decision and become Vision’s nominee for mayor.”
Vision Vancouver has until Friday to make a decision. When Campbell stepped aside on Monday, Vision Vancouver sent out a statement from party co-chair Michael Haack.
“The focus of Vision Vancouver will now be to support our talented candidates running for Council, School Board and Park Board. We have a strong platform to present to Vancouverites, we look forward to a robust and energetic campaign, and we will have more to say about the mayoral campaign in the coming days,” Haack said.
Vision Vancouver has been a recent political power house in Vancouver, with Mayor Gregor Robertson winning three elections under the party’s banner. The party was also able to control a majority of the votes on council for a majority of the time Robertson has been in office.
But things have started to change recently. The party suffered a major blow in 2017 when by-election council candidate Diego Cardona finished fourth in a race that now mayoral candidate Hector Bremner won.
Reimer says she is “owes it” to the party to consider running in order to continue to Vision agenda.
“I owe it to them, and the city and agenda I have worked hard for almost two decades now to seriously consider, so that’s what I am doing,” Reimer said. “Vision is the best bet to stop the NPA, and other parties who want to move the city backward. The internal polling is pretty clear that an independent can’t win.”
This comes on the heels of Reimer’s council colleague, Kerry Jang, announcing that he is supporting independent candidate Kennedy Stewart and encouraging others to do the same. Jang, who made the declaration before Reimer made it clear she was considering a run, said that Vision Vancouver voters need to rally around a progressive voice.
“Certainty with Ian Campbell stepping down we have other progressives that can fill that void,” Jang said. “Like Kennedy Stewart and others. I am saying to people in our party, let’s talk to guys like Kennedy because he is very progressive.”
“He has great environmental credibility and he likes what Vision is doing on housing but he wants to be even more aggressive.”
Vision Vancouver has sent an email to their supporters. The email, from campaign director Ange Valentini, keeps the door open for Vision to name another candidate and questions the viability of an independent candidate like Stewart.
“Vision may still run a Mayoral candidate. Our internal polling numbers show that if the election was held today, it would be a neck and neck race between Vision and the NPA for Mayor,” Valentini writes. “Vision may endorse an independent for Mayor. But we know it’s very difficult for an independent to win. And we’d need to know how they would help elect our candidates, support Vision’s policies, and most importantly, how they would defeat a well-resourced NPA. The Vision campaign team is carefully considering all options.”