This week’s roundup was more of a road trip with an extensive drive that took me through Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 10. Other than learning that we need to spend more money on roads in this city, I did get to see a bit of the ground game as it is playing out across the city.
Ward 1: While Robin Bellamy has some sign strength in some parts of the city, Darren Hill is still out in front, especially on east side of the river/ward. It’s a bit hard to judge as a lot of Darren Hill signs have been knocked over. I saw ten down Saturday while driving around the east side. I was able to observe both candidates in the same room this week as they were at the Mayfair/Kelsey Woodlawn/Hudson Bay Park Community Association AGM in the warm up shack of Henry Kelsey rink. Seriously, we met in a hockey change room that still smelled like my hockey bag. That’s the glamorous world of civic politics; awkward meetings in rooms that smells bad. If I ever think of running for public office, someone show me this post while sitting me down beside a hockey bag.
Ward 2: Owen Fortosky’s campaign website has launched while I am seeing a lot of Pat Lorje lawn signs going up all over Ward 2. Of course the secret of Ward 2 is not who has the best campaign but who can get the people out to vote. Doreen Day Wapass ran a spirited campaign against Lorje last election but very little of her support came out to vote (or the alternative narrative is that she had very little support)
Ward 3: I spent a lot of time driving around Ward 3 Saturday and I have never seen a sign campaign like it. There would be all sorts of Ann Iwanchuk campaign signs and then a bunch of Mike San Miguel signs in clusters. Then a while further there will be all of these Iwanchuk campaign signs before another cluster of San Miguel signs. I returned on Sunday and Wendy and I actually took some notes on signs. After looking at all of it, Iwanchuk is ahead. When you toss in the fact that she is an incumbent, I will put her out in front.
Ward 4: Troy Davies is putting up a lot of lawn signs along 33rd but throughout the ward the sign war is being won by Sean Shaw. A drive through a lot of Ward 4 Saturday showed that Shaw was holding a big lead in signs.
Ward 5: The big shift in the ward is that while city property seem to be supporting James Ford while actual households are still voting for Randy Donauer. Ward 5 is always going to be a difficult place for a left wing candidate to win as there is no really provincial or federal NDP presence in the ward which means that each campaign will be starting from scratch.
Ward 6: I spent a lot of time in Ward 6 Saturday as ESPN Radio was quite compelling and I was killing time while waiting for Mark to finish football practice. I managed to hit every neighbourhood in the ward. Charlie Clark is handily winning the sign war in Ward 6 which has to be horrible news for Brandon Snowsell. While I drove through on Saturday, Wendy and I were driving through the ward on Sunday and the Clark campaign had even more signs up. Having talked to a lot of campaigns about this over the last couple of years, one of the reasons you announce early and start door knocking is to get sign locations. People are not engaged in the political process in April and if you are going to be out there, you want to find people that will endorse you later. When it gets to that magical start date, you a) toss up enough signs to show your strength and put up some later to look like you are building momentum or you b) toss them all us and basically try to take your opponent out of the race early. A good example of this was the Eric Olauson campaign in 8 who gained enough sign locations (which are really endorsements) to establish himself as the front runner from the start of the campaign in Ward 8. After all the door knocking, the robocalls, and giant billboard and you still find yourself losing the sign war; it’s very hard to see a path of victory moving forward for the Snowsell campaign. As I took Wendy though the ward on Sunday, the Clark campaign had even more signs up which says not only is Clark ahead but he is the one with the momentum. No sign(s) of the other two candidates that jumped in to the race.
Ward 6 is also an interesting campaign where you have Snowsell running on a platform while Clark is running on his approach to civic politics which is actually a lot more important when you think about the thousands of votes over four years a city councillor will make. I have no idea what challenges city council will be facing three years from now and in the end you are voting for the person you best think can handle that.
Finally, thinking politics while listening to ESPN Radio talking about college football is harder than you think. At one point today I had Randy Donauer doing well in the Heisman Race while Tim Tebow was not doing well in Ward 4. Best of luck to both Ward 6 candidates as they play Michigan and Alabama on the road next week.
Ward 7: Mairin Loewen has been hard at work and is beating Mike Bzowey in sign locations. I keep hearing two things. One that Loewen’s ground game is paying off for her and she is ahead but I also hear that because of Bzowey’s spending and the wildcard that is Stonegate that is much closer. I think it is close but I Loewen works hard on constituency issues and is a thoughtful city councillor and effective campaigner. I still have Loewen ahead in a close campaign.
One odd part of the campaign is that after driving through most of Stonegate I never noticed a single lawn sign. I assume it’s because of all of the construction and not because the neighbourhood has shunned all three candidates in the ward but still, it is kind of weird as the neighbourhood has made it’s feelings known before (they don’t like group homes for single mothers and their infants). I don’t think it means anything either way other than it is just weird.
Ward 8: Some of Ainsley Robertson‘s supporters are saying to me that Sharon Wingate will draw enough support from Eric Olauson on the right for them to win up the middle. I agree it does happen as you saw that happen with several of Ralph Goodale’s elections but that only seems to make sense if there is a three way race and you still have to be stronger than the other two. Three strong campaign’s lowers the number of votes to win but you still have to get to that number. I still have Olauson out in front although Robertson does seem to be gaining in some sign locations and I think she is in second place.
Ward 9: Tiffany Paulsen has published her campaign platform and it has an interesting plank of free outdoor fitness classes for everyone in the city. She hasn’t released how this would be paid for or how much it would cost but I like it and one of the reasons why we have these elections is to get new ideas.
Ward 10: This is the only campaign that has it’s own iPhone app and a paperless candidate in Mark Horseman. Zach Jeffries is using a more traditional campaign to knock off incumbent Bev Dubois. Dubois is going big with billboards, bus bench ads, radio ads and today, a pancake breakfast. Three different approaches to a tough race. While this is Bev Dubois’s sixth campaign (she lost previously to Don Atchison and then Tiffany Paulsen before winning the next three), both Mark Horseman and Zach Jeffries have experience running campaigns in the riding. Horseman ran in the last election while Jeffries was part of the campaign team trying to beat Dubois back in 2003. While my survey of Ward 10 wasn’t as extensive as my trips through Ward 3 and Ward 6, it is worth noting that Dubois seems to be losing the sign war to Jeffries and maybe even Horseman. May she should have released an Android or Blackberry app?
Mayoral Campaign: Tom Wolf criticized Don Atchison for essentially being the incumbent mayor during the campaign and like most of council, the Mayor had some problems with the language around the Code of Conduct. I agree with the Mayor, err, Don Atchison on this one and probably think it was a campaign mistake. Wolf came out with his second phase of his campaign platform which focused on communities. The other major news during the mayoral campaign is the excellent political campaign that the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan has run with several announcements during the campaign which has blunted some of the criticism that some candidates have made about the spending. Both candidates have some lawn signs up around the city but I have Atchison out in front.
The interesting part of the mayoral campaign will be the mayor’s debate which is going to be televised for what I think will be the first time.
Useless Fact of the Week: Candidates are very, very passionate about lawn sign stakes. Some use one stake, some use two and there is a divide between those that use 2×2 stakes (Hill and Jeffries among others) and those that use 1×2 stakes. I also found out that NDP leadership candidate Cam Broten has a “stake guy” who makes stakes out of recycled wood. It also sounds out that on several campaigns, the election allows them to clean out sheds because the stakes are all being used. So by taking a lawn sign not only are you making your voice heard, you are helping out someone’s domestic situation. That and if your fence goes missing during a provincial campaign, it could be Broten.
Number of the week: 288. As in 288 followers that Tom Wolf has on Twitter. Tom is doing a good job with social media but with only 288 followers, his campaign is not catching on as it needs to if he wants to beat Don Atchison (who has 810)
Statistically Insignificant Argument of the Week: I have heard from a couple of campaigns that “my opponent got the sign but I got the vote”. I know that does happen but it’s a statistically insignificant amount. It goes both ways and lawn sign strength is a pretty good sign of voter intentions. The exceptions are rental housing where a landlord may authorize the lawn signs but of course the residents have their own idea on how they will vote.