Many incumbents facing challengers
Interesting mayoral races are shaping up in a number of Central Alberta communities as election season officially opens.
Several former mayors are trying to win back the top job and a few councillors are looking to take a step up in their political careers.
On the other end of the spectrum, election night will be dull in Bowden. Mayor Robb Stuart and all six council candidates have been acclaimed.
In Penhold, incumbent mayor Dennis Cooper is facing a pair of challengers, including Heather Klein and controversial town councillor Chad Hoffman.
Council removed Hoffman from all council committees in October 2011, a decision repeated following the October 2012 organizational meeting.
A former mayor, Julia King, is among the 11 seeking the five council seats up for grabs. King, who had been acclaimed for four elections, lost to Cooper in 2010, an election year that saw a number of long-time mayors lose their jobs.
In Rocky Mountain House, voters will see a rematch of mayoral candidates. Jim Bague is back trying to regain the seat he lost to incumbent Fred Nash. Also in the race is Sheila Mizera.
Another rematch is set for Blackfalds where Mayor Melodie Stol is facing her opponent last time around, Wayne Tutty.
In Eckville, Helen Posti, who has been mayor since 1991 and was acclaimed in 2010, will face a challenger in Laurie Phillips.
Olds Mayor Judy Dahl, who was acclaimed in the last election, will face two opponents, Shirley Schultz and Art Baker.
Steve Christie, who was elected as Lacombe’s first mayor since it became a city, will face a challenge from council colleague Grant Creasey.
Sylvan Lake incumbent Mayor Susan Samson is also facing a challenge from around the council table, Sean McIntyre. A third challenger, Melesa Starcheski, also entered the race on Monday.
The lakeside town has had one of the more interesting lead-ups to nomination day with two initially mayor hopefuls opting to switch their candidacies to a council seat. Coun. Dale Plante and newcomer Matt Prete made the moves, citing the similarity of their platforms with McIntyre’s.
Rimbey Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson will face a challenge from Rick Pankiw, who ran against him in the last election, finishing third behind former mayor Dale Barr.
Town of Bentley Mayor Joan Dickau is facing a challenger in Lynda Haarstad-Petten.
In Sundre, incumbent Mayor Annette Clews will be up against Terrance Leslie.
Ponoka will have a new mayor after three-term Mayor Larry Henkelman did not enter the race. Councillors Rick Bonnett and Doug Gill will face off for the top job.
In Red Deer County, the municipality’s first elected mayor, Jim Wood, will be back. No one stepped forward to run against him this fall.
Innisfail’s mayor, Brian Spiller, has also been acclaimed. The former councillor takes over the job held by Jim Romane, who decided not to run again.
Town of Stettler Mayor Dick Richards will be back as he was acclaimed.
Former Bashaw councillor Penny Shantz was acclaimed as mayor and nominations for council remain open because not enough candidates came forward to fill the four council spots.