It is with mixed feelings and no little regret that I distribute this statement today.
A number of months ago, I announced my intention to run for Mayor of the City of Victoria in opposition to the current Mayor, Lisa Helps. I did so because I had heard from many Victoria residents that they were unhappy with Mayor Helps and the current council, in particular with their unwillingness to engage in meaningful consultation before taking actions that could significantly impact the lives or livelihoods of some residents. I was, and am, fully in support of those concerns.
I was worried that if no viable contender for the Mayor’s chair stepped forward, Mayor Helps would be re-elected with little challenge to her past performance, and city residents would face another four years of the same type of civic government.
Since I announced my candidacy, however, other credible candidates have stepped forward to join the race for Mayor.
The last thing I want to do is to split the vote of the opposition in such a way that Mayor Helps ends up getting re-elected with only a small plurality of votes. This has happened before in Victoria, most notably in 1990 when sitting council members Frank Carson and Ron McKenzie both ran for mayor chasing the same block of voters. The result was that David Turner, later dubbed “Mayor Moonbeam” in the media, was able to slip through the middle and win with only 33.9 per cent of the popular vote.
In an effort to ensure that this does not happen again in October, I am announcing today that I am withdrawing my candidacy for Mayor.
I would urge others who have announced their candidacy, or are planning to do so, to weigh carefully their options to ensure that those who do not support Mayor Helps have one clear choice to vote for on October 20.
I hope that other candidates adopt some of the principles I believe are important for mayor and council to govern well during the next four years: clean, safe streets; financial accountability for tax dollars spent; and, most of all, an assurance that they will govern on behalf of all the citizens of Victoria, not just cater to special interest groups of whatever stripe.
I think it is too early yet to endorse any one candidate, but I will be watching the performance and platforms of the candidates in the coming weeks and, before election day, will announce where I am going to place the X on my ballot.
For those who wish, I will be updating my website to reflect this decision, and to post my thoughts and hopes for the city going forward.
In conclusion, I would like to express my most sincere thanks to all those who have helped and supported me in the campaign work to date, and would also like to encourage them too to stay involved in this most important electoral process.