Friday at 1:59 pm was literally the last minute someone in the City of Guelph could submit their papers for election, and while it's been a very busy couple of days at the clerk's office, the final countdown seemed to come and go with only a couple of people racing to beat the clock. And they were some actual big names too, at least if you're following local politics. A couple of former provincial candidates, a former city councillor and an alternative transit advocate have all joined the ranks of the ready, willing and able for Guelph 2014.
On Wednesday, former Progressive Conservative candidate Bob Senechal jumped into the Ward 5 race. Senechal ran for Member of Provincial Parliament in 2007, but lost to Liberal Liz Sandals by less than 2,000 votes; he also tried to secure the party nomination in 2011. After a fairly quiet year, Ward 5 started heating up at the end of August after Lise Burcher and Robert Rutledge left the race, and Scott R. Butler, Dimitrios Jim Galatianos, and Alex Green joined it. Leanne Piper and Cathy Downer are also running in Ward 5, both having declared back in January.
The Ward 4 race got even bigger when another former PC candidate joined the election fray on Thursday. Greg Schirk, a local businessman who ran for the Tories provincially in 2011, joined inserted himself on the ballot in Guelph's west end becoming the eighth person in that ward to make a play for one of its two open seats. Several high-profile candidates were already in the mix to succeed Cam Guthrie and Gloria Kavach as councillors, including former city councillor Mike Salisbury and former Guelph Mercury reporter Scott Tracey. Mark Briestensky, Rob Dunn-Dufault, Laurie Garbutt, Greg Roffey, and Gary Walton were the also previously declared candidates.
Over in Ward 2, Martin Collier of the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation filed his papers today, trying to either succeed Ian Findlay or unseat Andy Van Hellemond in the city's northeastern ward. Along with Van Hellemond, Collier will have to vie against Ray Ferraro, James Gordon, Chris Keleher Sr. and Sian Matwey for those two Ward 2 seats around the horseshoe.
Another familiar face in local politics got her name on the ballot just under the wire in Ward 4. Christine Billings, who served two terms on city council between 2003 and 2010 representing Ward 6. Billings was initially up for re-election in 2010, but she opted to step aside from the ballot was finalized.
The municipal election takes place on Monday October 27, advanced online voting begins October 4. Stay tuned to Guelph Politico to hear from all the candidates who are on the 2014 ballot.