Municipal election picture continues to change

By Kirk Winter

The mayoral election in Kawartha Lakes is looking more and more like a two-horse race between council stalwarts Doug Elmslie and Pat Dunn with only 10 days to go before the cut-off to accept any new candidates.

Councillor Tracy Richardson has confirmed she will not be seeking the mayor’s office. She filed her paperwork on August 8 to contest the Ward 8 council seat she currently holds rather than challenge Dunn and Elmslie for the top job in the city. Richardson was viewed as a viable candidate for mayor by many city hall watchers with a solid record as deputy mayor and the right combination of populist politics like her support for the opening up of ORV trails across the city, and support for progressive causes like protecting the natural environment of Kawartha Lakes.

Joli Scheidler-Benns dropped out of the mayoral race last week, citing health reasons. (Scheidler-Benns has no connection to the Advocate; she and Advocate publisher Roderick Benns are divorced.)

With some observers viewing Elmslie and Dunn as potentially one-term mayors because of their ages, Richardson could still be at the forefront of mayoral hopefuls considering a run in 2026.

Speculation persists that some conservative factions within the city continue to pressure former provincial Ontario Party candidate Kirsten Kelly to run for mayor, but with little success. Ward 3 council candidate Bill Denby has suggested that if Kelly is not available he may shift from his run for council to challenge Elmslie and Dunn for the mayor’s position.

In other election news, four more candidates for council have made their runs official. Former federal Green Party candidate Angel Godsoe will be contesting the race in Ward 4. In Ward 5, Wesley Letsholo joins the race. In Ward 7, Danielle Willette has announced her candidacy. In Ward 8, Greg Ward will be challenging Richardson for the Manvers area council seat.

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