With the municipal elections heating up, here's a quick snapshot of the goings-on around Burlington Bay:
Hamilton's mayoralty race is heating up, with a recent Spectator/Nanos poll putting Downtown Councillor Bob Bratina ahead of current mayor Fred Eisenburger, and former mayor Larry DiIanni.
With 23.4% of the vote, Bratina, a former radio host, edges out Eisenburger, a former federal Conservative candidate (though don't let that fool you), at 20.8%, and former Liberal candidate Larry DiIanni (though again, don't let that fool you) at 18.3%, making this a bonafide 3-way race between these guys, with the fourth place candidate, perennial pot-smoking Church of the Universe leader Michael Baldarasso coming in with 4.5% of the vote. However, 27.4% remain undecided, putting this race up in the air.
The competitive wards are summed up here:
Ward 2, Bratina's old seat, has too many candidates to count, but popular former NDP MP Ian Deans is running, along with local activist Matt Jelly.
Ward 5 has incumbent Chad Collins facing off against Frank Rukavina, 2008's federal Conservative candidate in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, where he pulled a good amount of votes.
Ward 7's first-term incumbent Scott Duvall is facing off against former PC MPP Trevor Pettit.
Ward 11 has controversial councillor Dave Mitchell running again, and is facing a popular and noted activist named Brenda Johnson.
Ward 13's incumbent councillor, Russ Powers, is facing against a vocal against Danya Scime, who filed to run against Powers because of his position on the West Harbour stadium.
Ward 15 features a non-incumbent race, where Hamilton Chamber of Commerce head Judi Partridge, who came in second in 2006 against Margaret McCarthy, is the apparent front-runner.
Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 14 are races with popular incumbents that most likely won't be beaten (plus one acclaimed).
Oakville's mayor's race features what essentially happened last time in 2006, with current mayor Rob Burton facing off against former mayor Ann Mulvale. Burton is facing some flak over the city budget, but Mulvale was mayor from 1988 to 2006 and some I've talked to feel that she's been there too long. It'll be down to the wire, though.
Two ward races to watch:
Town and Regional Councillor for Ward 4 features a two-way fight between incumbent Cathy Duddeck and former councillor Stephen Sparling. Duddeck has the support of Burton, while Sparling has the support of Mulvale. Sparling has flyers all up and down Kerr St.'s business section and seems to be winning the sign war.
Town Councillor for Ward 6 features Max Khan, current federal Liberal candidate for Oakville, facing off four other challengers.
Burlington's mayor race is, according to an online poll, dominated by Ward 5 Councillor and former Green candidate Rick Goldring, who is winning with 48% of the vote, while incumbent Cam Jackson, former PC MPP and cabinet minister, is third with 13% of the vote.
However, it is an online poll with no real scientific basis. Jackson is unpopular, and Goldring is the main opponent. But like in 2006, Carol D'Amelio, Ward 6 Councillor, may split the vote with herself and Goldring, allowing Jackson through again.
Burlington has a good number of competitive wards, which I went over in a post before. But, just to summarize again:
Ward 2 faces a competitive race between three candidates: former Ontario Liberal candidate and local activist Marianne Meed Ward; incumbent Peter Thoem; and 2006's second-place candidate, Dave Bedini. Candidate Shannon Gillies may make it a four-way race. That poll had Bedini with 50% of the vote, Thoem with 29%, Gillies with 11%, and Meed Ward with 10%.
Ward 3 is a two-way fight between 22-year incumbent John Taylor, and former Ontario NDP candidate Cory Judson (my candidate, yay!). That poll had Judson with 54% of the vote, and Taylor on 36%.
Ward 4 is another two-way fight, with lawyer Brian Heagle and incumbent Jack Dennison fighting it out. In the poll, Heagle had 68% to Dennison's 24%, but on the ground, things don't seem to reflect that.
Ward 5 and Ward 6 feature two incumbent-less races, and two very scary candidates that I really hope do not win, but in those polls, seem to run away with the vote.
Ward 5 features Paul Sharman, a veritable Rob Ford, facing off against James Smith, a local face in the city's politics, and School Trustee Peggy Russell. Not sure what the outcome will be, but there is a heck of a lot of Sharman signs. Sharman had 47% in the poll, compared to 21% for both Smith and Russell.
Ward 6 has a slightly less scary but still disturbing apparent frontrunner, Blair Lancaster, who as far as I know, is a former model of some sort. Her competition is Mark Carr, a local Liberal and former councillor. Mark is a good guy and I hope he wins, but the ground operation, like with Brian Heagle, hasn't appeared to be in full force. Lancaster came first in the poll with 51% of the vote, to Carr's 24%.