No candidate running for Hamilton’s council in the October municipal election will have a clear path to victory.
With the entry deadline for candidates Friday, all 15 of the city’s wards now have at least one challenger with over 200 individuals having registered to take part in the Oct. 24 election.
As of Thursday night, close to 80 candidates have signed on for a voice at council including seven mayoral hopefuls looking to succeed Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Another 69 are hoping to represent constituents as councillors.
Of those looking for a councillor’s seat, Ward 4 appears to be the most competitive, with 11 vying to represent constituents in East Hamilton.
Former Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) chair Alex Johnstone and ATU Local president Eric Tuck are a couple of familiar names who’ve registered since incumbent Sam Merulla announced he would not be running after 20 years on council.
Peter Graefe, an associate political science professor at McMaster University, says wards with that many options may appear overwhelming for voters but typically are not, with only a handful of candidates actually running strong campaigns.
Grafe says the wards where incumbents won’t be on the ballot present the real challenge for voters, since they’ll have to pick an unknown or unproven candidate to represent their region.
“You’ll have a series of campaigns that will be working hard to drive voters out, and there will be a lot of people on doorsteps,” Grafe said.
“So that might be moving and pushing us towards a higher (voter) turnout.”
Ward 5 has the second-largest pool of new candidates, 10, following the departure of Chad Collins to federal politics.
Ward 11’s Brenda Johnson, Ward 12’s Lloyd Ferguson and Ward 15’s Judi Partridge are among those not seeking re-election.
It’s unclear if there will be six wards in which an incumbent will not be returning since longtime Ward 14 Coun. Terry Whitehead has not registered for the fall election with just a day left before the 2 p.m. deadline on Aug. 19.
Whitehead is currently on a sick leave from council.
Seven candidates vying for Hamilton mayor
Three more mayoral candidates came on board last week bringing the total number of those vying for the city’s top political post to seven.
The new candidates include:
- Solomon Ikhuiwu – running on a platform to create better road infrastructure to aid Hamilton’s economy by attracting more businesses
- Hermiz Ishaya – a pharmacy assistant looking to improve the municipal education system, small business and establish a safer and calm city.
- Paul Fromm – identifies with “white nationalism,” a racist ideology that promotes either white-only or white-dominated citizenry.
The other candidates include former Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Former Hamilton Chamber of Commerce boss Keanin Loomis, former mayor and Liberal MP Bob Bratina as well as former head of the city’s taxi drivers’ union, Ejaz Butt.
Incumbent Eisenberger has already said he will not be seeking re-election.
38 candidates registered for Hamilton School Board posts
As of Aug. 18, 51 individuals have signed on for an opportunity to be a school board trustee following the fall election.
Six English and Catholic wards currently have a candidate running unopposed — including Ward 7 of the catholic board.
Current Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic School Board chair Pat Daly has no challenger with the deadline looming.