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Expect a lot of jockeying among candidates to be the preferred “anti-Vision” vote in by-election

July 12th, 2017 · No Comments

So, thanks to the resignation of Geoff Meggs from council, as he goes off to be chief of staff for John Horgan in the new NDP government, there will be a by-election sometime in mid-October.

Even though whoever wins won’t make a difference to the balance of power on council — Vision will still have six votes — this seat is being seen as a huge plum worth fighting for. That’s because the winner will likely symbolize the choice of Vancouverites for their preferred option when it comes to providing an alternative voice on council.

For the NPA, it looks like a potential chance to elect one of their number who came very close to winning in the 2014 election. Geoff Meggs squeaked into 10th spot with 56,800 votes. Right after him were the NPA’s Greg Baker with 55,700, Ken Low with 54, 970, Suzanne Scott with 54,700, and Rob McDowell, with almost 54,000. (Ian Robertston with 56,400 is out of the running. He’s moved to Victoria and isn’t coming back.) As I mentioned in a tweet, NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe might want to consider a run to get some council experience on his books before the big civic election in 2018. (Then again, it’s a risk. If he doesn’t win, damages his efforts to run for mayor again.)

The Green’s Pete Fry is an obvious contender and, as I noted in my story for the Globe, he’s seriously considering that run. He got 46,500, but might reasonably expect to do better, proportionally, against an NPA candidate.

The highest-ranking COPE candidate was Tim Louis with 31,000. One City, the party that was formed by former COPE people who couldn’t stomach the direction it was going under Tim Louis, ran one candidate, RJ Aquino, who got 30,000 votes.

Does Vision even have a chance? Well, since by-elections often function as mechanisms for people to vent all their frustrations against a current regime, it’s not high. Even Patti Bacchus, the former Vision school board chair, who is considering running, says it will be a tough fight.

She might be Vision’s best chance, with her huge name recognition (she got 73,000 votes, more than most councillors and as much as NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe) and her dogged criticism of Christy Clark and the Liberals, which earned her lots of cred on the left. Whoever runs for Vision is going to have to present themselves as something of an outsider — not clouded by votes for controversial development projects and with a persona that brings a fresh perspective.

We’ll know later who the final choices are but, whoever they are, it is going to be one interesting race.




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