Slowly and surely, the 2014 municipal election is starting to take shape. A few newcomers have announced their intentions to run in both Langley City and Langley Township, and now Township Mayor Jack Froese has confirmed he plans to seek a second term.
He is the first incumbent to make a public statement, and his timing is appropriate. The summer months are almost here, and now any would-be challengers know they will be running against the incumbent.
Unlike in 2011, there has been little obvious interest in toppling the incumbent mayor. Froese announced in the spring of 2011 that he was running for mayor against incumbent Rick Green. Later on, incumbent councillor Mel Kositsky also entered the race, making it a three-way fight.
Despite the three-way race and the unrest that had plagued council for several years, voter turnout was only marginally better in the Township in 2011. While the mayor was defeated, all incumbent councillors were re-elected, despite some obvious unhappiness with some of them.
That is the great challenge that any newcomer faces. It is very difficult to defeat an incumbent, particularly in the race for councillor or school trustee. Ballots where a multitude of candidates can be chosen tend to work very well for those with better-known names, and those are almost always incumbents.
In the Township, it is expected that all eight incumbent councillors will run again. That will make the job of challenger a very tough one.
In Langley City, there is a good chance there will be at least two openings, although that has not yet been confirmed. Acting mayor Ted Scaffer is expected to run for mayor and one councillor isn’t likely to run again. If so, newcomers can be sure of taking at least two seats.
As for the Langley Board of Education, no candidates have yet come forward. Considering the dismal state of education right now, with an ongoing teachers’ strike and no funding for new schools, perhaps that isn’t too surprising.