Municipal election starting to take shape

By Kirk Winter

Kawartha Lakes residents will be asked to exercise their democratic right one more time on Oct. 24 in what could be a sea change election.

Mayor Andy Letham is not seeking a third term and a minimum of three councillors are not contesting their seats for a variety of reasons. That means the 2022-2026 council could have more new faces than at any time since amalgamation in 2001.

Candidates have until August 19 to declare, and it is expected that the floodgates will soon open with potential candidates looking to spend the all-important summer barbeque season courting seasonal and local residents to ask for their votes as the election campaign begins in earnest with the arrival of the summer residents.

As of June 22, here are the candidates who have processed their paperwork and been found eligible to run by the city clerk.

Mayor – Pat Dunn, Doug Elmslie and Joli Scheidler-Benns (Note: Advocate publisher Roderick Benns and Scheidler-Benns are divorced. Scheidler-Benns has no connection to the Advocate.)

Ward One – Don Logan

Ward Two – Pat Warren and Jamie Brown

Ward Three – Mike Perry and William Denby

Ward Four – Ian Nicholson

Ward Five – Duncan Gallacher

Ward Six – Gerard Jilesen and Ron Ashmore

Ward Seven – Zachary Tisdale and Charles McDonald

Ward Eight – no candidates declared

Interesting races appear to already be shaping up for mayor where at least one or two more high-profile candidates are expected to join the field. Speculation persists that Kerstin Kelly, who ran for the Ontario Party in the provincial election, is weighing her chances for success in a potential mayoral run.

Ward Two, Three and Six and Seven are already races to watch.

In Ward Two former councillor, retired businessperson and environmental steward Pat Warren, and Jamie Brown who has deep roots in the hunting, fishing and ATV community have already declared. Bobcaygeon insiders are unsure if their current councillor, Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, who has significant business interests in the village, will decide to step back and focus on her restaurant.

Ward Three could feature an interesting contest with lawyer and community volunteer Mike Perry and business owner William (Bill) Denby both ready to get out and knock on doors. Denby is likely hoping to harness the not insignificant “freedom” vote that has been noted in both the federal and provincial elections of 2022 in Kawartha Lakes.

Ward Six could see a reprise of the tightly contested 2018 municipal election with incumbent Ron Ashmore (who is also a mortgage broker) and small businessperson Gerard Jilesen back on the ballot for another go-round.

In Lindsay’s Ward Seven, which includes a good chunk of Ops Township, retired business owner Charles (Charlie) McDonald and Commonwealth Mutual Insurance Group employee Zachary Tisdale have declared so far. This race will be the first in more than four decades where local voters will not have the opportunity to vote for Pat O’Reilly who recently announced his retirement from municipal politics. With O’Reilly not endorsing a successor, Ward Seven should be a wide-open race.

Only Ward Eight, currently represented by deputy-mayor Tracy Richardson, remains without a declared candidate. Some in the ward are encouraging Richardson to run for mayor. A number of potential council replacements are waiting in the wings to see what decision the sitting councillor makes. 


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