Nominations for the City of Greater Geelong Council Elections have now formally closed, and a field of 53 candidates will be contesting the four wards.
Brownbill Ward will be the most heavily contested ward in this election, with a field of 18 candidates contending for three seats. However, no particular candidate or set of candidates have emerged as frontrunners at this stage. George Ballas, though, has drawn some favourable local media coverage, while Michael King also drew a lot of local media coverage around the time of his announcement back in July, but that has seemed to have subsided. Interestingly, neither of these two candidates are investing heavily in social media, with George Ballas even shunning it completely. Freya Fidge and former Liberal-aligned Councillor Eddy Kontelj are working together to direct preferences to each other, while Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield, as well as Socialist Alliance candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway, have been mobilising grassroots campaigns and are very well in the race for one of the seats.
South of the river in Kardinia Ward, it is a similar story but with 11 contenders for three seats; with no clear front-runner emerging as yet. Pat Murnane is running a very strong social media campaign. Doug Mann, who stood for Mayor at the 2013 Mayoral by-election, is also a strong contender on the basis of his now higher profile; though he did leave it fairly late to formally announce his candidacy in this particular election. Labor-aligned Brent Lyons-Lee and former Councillor Bruce Harwood should also factor strongly.
On the Bellarine, where 13 candidates will be vying for three seats, Stephanie Asher, who has stood in numerous elections at all levels over the years and also has a column in the Geelong Advertiser, will be a strong contender for one of the three seats on offer there. Liberal-aligned Trent Sullivan, Labor-aligned Jim Mason, and Anne Brackley are also very well still in the race.
Windermere Ward, covering the northern suburbs has been the most intense contest of this election campaign so far despite there being only 11 candidates running for the two seats on offer. Ken Dickens, Moshtagh Heidari, Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitken are clear front-runners at this stage, with the latter three, in particular, running very grassroots campaigns, while Ken Dickens is drawing all sorts of media coverage, both good and bad. All four of the aforementioned candidates, along with David Withington, are running very strong social media campaigns and are spending big on advertisements and promotions.
There is now a two-week window between today and October 10, when ballots packs start going out in the mail. Ballots must be returned by October 27, however, based on the trends of previous Council elections, most residents will have voted and posted back their ballots well before this deadline.
About the author:
Matt Hrkac is a writer and activist based in Geelong who regularly contributes to Green Left Weekly. He has particular interests in politics, elections and the trade union movement and has had extensive involvement in a number of local campaigns. He is a former member of the Greens.