1) A cake-walk through the park? It is really too early to tell whether Mayor Mandel will face an easy re-election in October. In the non-race for Mayor of 2007, second place challenger Don Koziak earned 25% while only running a semblance of a city-wide campaign. I would not underestimate the electoral potential of an even moderately organized & well-funded outsider/anti-Council candidate, especially if it looks like Mayor Mandel is going to cruise to another victory.
2) Opposition is split. Mayor Mandel enjoys wide-spread support and the opposition he does face appears to be fragmented around varying issues. The people who are furious about the closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport or annoyed about the funding of the Art Gallery of Alberta are unlikely to vote for the same candidate as the people angry over the Capital Power-Epcor decision. At this point, no champion challenger apparent has emerged with the potential of galvanizing this dissent (watching Season 3 of The Wire has taught me that even two or three reasonable challengers could bleed a Mayor’s support and create some interesting results).
3) What issues? There are no shortage of issues that I hope will be the focus of debate in this election (urban sprawl, inner city schools, regional amalgamation, and others that I plan to write about over the next six months), but the one issue that may have the potential to create a major wave is the Katz Group‘s desire to have the City of Edmonton to fund $400,000,000 for a new downtown arena. The Katz Group has hired long-time PC-insider Peter Elzinga as a lobbyist and launched a political campaign to “Revitalize Downtown” in advance of the election. Mayor Mandel was an early supporter of the downtown arena, but remains publicly coy about his position on the actual Katz Group proposal.
– June 23 is the date of the Wild Rose Alliance nomination meeting in Calgary-Glenmore. It looks as if outgoing leader and former Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Paul Hinman may be the only candidate to seek the nod.
– The Alberta NDP hosted a revitalization conference in Edmonton last weekend. I am told that BC MP Nathan Cullen knocked the socks off the over 100 attendees with a rousing speech. Union orgainzer Eric Carpendale has been appointed as the NDP candidate for the upcoming Calgary-Glenmore by-election.
DADAMO WILL NOT SEEK LIBERAL NOMINATION. INSTEAD WILL FOCUS ON LOCAL PRIORITIES
Calgary, AB – Monday, local businessman George Dadamo informed Alberta Liberal Party President Tony Sonsotta, that he will not seek the Party’s nomination in the Calgary Glenmore by election. Instead, Mr. Dadamo will focus his energy on a number of local priorities, including: job creation, growing our economy, making our streets safer and standing up for families and business.
“The message I am getting from our hundreds of supporters and contributors is that Calgarians are looking for someone to stand up and fight for them on local issues, and that is exactly what I intend to do,” announced Mr. Dadamo.
In the coming months, George will hold a series of public policy discussions with business and community members – starting with a Job Creation Summit on June 16th, 2009.
“So in many ways this journey is just beginning and I am calling on all Calgarians to join the conversation and get involved in this movement for change, because together we can make a great city – greater,” stated Dadamo.
A radio broadcaster and media writer, Dadamo represented Windsor-Sandwich in the Ontario Legislature from 1990 to 1995, where he served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation in Premier Bob Rae‘s NDP government.
While running a candidate with government experience would be a big catch for David Swann‘s Liberal Official Opposition (and a vote of no-confidence in Brian Mason‘s NDP), I can imagine that his opponents in the nomination race and the by-election won’t hesitate to highlight any Rae Days connections of Dadamo’s past.