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City Happenings

Which council races are the ones to watch? We ask the experts

Jeremy Nolais, Metro Calgary

Two northern wards with no incumbents and some battles between familiar foes have piqued the interest of political scientists, who will be watching closely as the votes roll in.

Lori Williams and Duane Bratt, both with Mount Royal University, and Paul Fairie with the University of Calgary all signalled a Ward 7 rematch between incumbent Druh Farrell and challenger Kevin as one that could signal overall support for or against the push by Mayor Naheed Nenshi to re-elect incumbents.

Others on Fairie’s radar are the Wards 1 and 2 races, which have no incumbents. Fairie said he believes the race to replace Dale Hodges will boil down to the man he endorsed, Ward Sutherland, and past challenger Chris Harper.

Courtesy of Metro Calgary, Robson Fletcher

Courtesy of Metro Calgary, Robson Fletcher

In Ward 2, however, Fairie said he sees no clear frontrunner.

“I keep trying to figure out who’s going to win — that’s definitely the most open one,” he said.

Also on Fairie’s radar is the Ward 8 race, where he said the Evan Woolley campaign has been picking up steam but still faces a steep climb to unseat incumbent John Mar.

Williams, meanwhile, said a rematch between incumbent Gael MacLeod and challenger Sean Chu has her curious.

“It will be interesting if the get-out-the-vote machine that’s been associated with conservatives in Calgary in the past plays a role there and I think the same thing applies in (Ward) 7,” she said, adding such a push would aid Chu and Taylor.

And Bratt said the Ward 6 race, which he’s dubbed as “The election of the two incumbents,” could be close. Joe Connelly vacated the seat to run for mayor in 2010 and has now come back to challenge his replacement Richard Pootmans.

“When you drive through it (Ward 6) you see signs where Connelly is claiming no new taxes and being a fiscal conservative and then there’s others where he’s taking support for every spending thing that was done in the ward,” Bratt said.

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As for the mayoral ballot, Bratt said anything less than 80 per cent support for incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi will show cracks in the purple fortress, while Fairie said much the same if his support slips below 70 per cent.

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