Mayor Kennedy Stewart is facing 14 challengers in the Oct. 15 Vancouver election.
The Aug. 30-Sept. 9 candidate registration window closed at 4 p.m. on Friday, but Vancouver city hall’s election office did not officially declare the candidates’ list until after 11 p.m.
Ten of Stewart’s challengers are fringe candidates, due to the low-barrier for entry: a $100 deposit and signatures from a minimum 25 qualified electors.
Four challengers represent elector organizations registered with Elections BC: Fred Harding (NPA), Colleen Hardwick (TEAM for a Livable Vancouver), Mark Marissen (Progress Vancouver) and Ken Sim (ABC Vancouver).
Candidates with second thoughts about running have until 4 p.m. Sept. 16 to remove themselves from the ballot. That is also the deadline for an eligible voter, another candidate or the chief election officer to legally challenge a candidate’s nomination or party endorsement.
Censored versions of candidate nomination papers and conflict of interest disclosure statements are available on the civic website. Unredacted versions can only be viewed during business hours in-person at the city election office.
Sim fell 957 votes shy of independent former NDP MP Stewart in 2018. Since then, Stewart has formed his own party, Forward Together, and Sim left the NPA to lead ABC Vancouver.
Forward Together announced its star candidate earlier on deadline day: Jeanette Ashe, Stewart’s wife who was the NDP’s runner-up in April’s Vancouver-Quilchena by-election to BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon.
TEAM leader Hardwick is the only elected official challenging Stewart. She was elected to city council on Sim’s ticket in 2018, but left the NPA after the party chose John Coupar behind closed doors last year. Coupar quit as mayoral candidate in early August. By the end of the month, Fred Harding parachuted in from Beijing to take the reins of the NPA. Harding ran with Vancouver 1st in 2018 and registered 5,640 votes, contributing to Sim’s defeat and causing the NPA to fall one seat shy of a council majority.
In 2022, the NPA’s only incumbent candidate is Coun. Melissa De Genova after incumbent Park Board Commissioner Tricia Barker defected to TEAM. Prospective NPA Park Board candidate Ray Goldenchild, who complained to the board after an argument with Barker in late July, did not register. He told supporters he will volunteer for Harding instead.
The Vancouver and District Labour Council political action committee endorsed Stewart and two of his Forward Together candidates, along with incumbents Christine Boyle (OneCity), Adriane Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe (Green) and Jean Swanson (COPE).
Vision Vancouver, the party that ruled the city for a decade until 2018, is attempting a comeback, with five candidates for city council, including former Park Board commissioners Stuart Mackinnon and John Irwin.
In Surrey, B.C.’s second-biggest city, it is almost as competitive for the top job. Controversial Mayor and Safe Surrey Coalition leader Doug McCallum faces seven challengers, four of whom are veteran politicians: Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, ex-Liberal MP/BC Liberal MLA Gordie Hogg, Coun. Brenda Locke and NDP MLA Jinny Sims.
Also running are Amrit Birring, Kuldip Pelia and John Wolanski.
Next door in Delta, Mayor George Harvie of Achieving for Delta has two challengers: Joginder Randhawa and Peter Van Der Velden.
Across the Fraser River in Richmond, it’s the same. Mayor Malcolm Brodie, the longest-serving mayor across Metro Vancouver, is hoping to defeat RITE Richmond’s John Roston and independent Wei Ping Chen, who resides in Burnaby.
It is also a three-way race in New Westminster to replace Jonathan Cote. City councillors Patrick Johnstone of Community First and independent Chuck Puchmayr versus Ken Armstrong of New West Progressives.
In the North Vancouvers, a pair of head-to-heads:
City Mayor Linda Buchanan against Guy Heywood, who is making his second run at the job.
In the District, incumbent mayor Mike Little is facing-off against veteran councillor Matthew Bond.
The field is even more-crowded in West Vancouver, where ex-Mayor Mark Sager is trying for another comeback after losing by a scant 21 votes in a 2018 recount to Mary-Ann Booth.
Instead of running for council again, Marcus Wong is seeking the top job. The fourth contestant is real estate agent Teresa De Cotiis.
Meanwhile, Port Coquitlam’s Brad West and Burnaby’s Mike Hurley were both acclaimed for their second terms.