A major announcement in Nanaimo’s mayoral race earlier this week has shaken up the coming election.
Norm Smith, who was campaigning for mayor, announced Friday he will no longer seek the mayor’s chair and will instead run for city council.
Smith’s decision came just two days after Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog announced he’s running for mayor.
“He’s just got such a powerful presence in the community. I sat down and I talked to a few very influential people in town and I did number crunching…” Smith said. “There’s no prize for second place in the mayor run.”
He said he attended Krog’s announcement Wednesday at the Coast Bastion Hotel and found it was on a whole different scale from his own campaign.
“People were giving him standing ovations, they were crying for him. It’s just like, holy cow,” Smith said. “Fighting the good fight’s fine, but a futile fight is kind of a waste of everybody’s time.”
He did an online poll that garnered close to 500 responses, he said, with 80 per cent saying they’d rather see him try for city councillor. Smith said entering a race in which he has a “decent shot” is a better way to represent those who have been helping and contributing to his campaign.
“The nice thing was once I put it out there, I’m getting the folks that were going to vote for Leonard saying that now they can vote for both of us,” Smith said.
He added that he’s not necessarily endorsing either Krog or Don Hubbard for mayor; he thinks both are “very good candidates” and he would “gladly” work with whoever wins the election. He also thinks gaining experience on council would serve him well if he decides to try another run for mayor one day.
The retired Nanaimo RCMP corporal said his main goal has always been to help rebuild the city, which he said is floundering.
“We’re not getting anywhere; we’re not doing anything,” Smith said. “I personally believe we’ve lost our downtown core and we need to get that back.”
He thinks Mounties can make good members of council because they respect policy and procedure – he said observing Nanaimo’s current council, he’s seen instances where policy and procedure has seemingly been changed or discarded on the fly.
Even though Smith has reassessed his goal for this fall’s election, he continues to be excited about the campaign.
“I’m always excited when I can help the city,” he said.
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