Some of the speculation around who might challenge Coun. Stephen Andrew for the Victoria mayor’s chair, with Lisa Helps stepping down after this term, fell away Tuesday when Coun. Marianne Alto announced her intention to do so.
The decision of the three-term city councillor, first elected in 2010, makes it an official race with she and Andrew the lone declared mayoral candidates for the 2022 fall municipal election. Andrew, a former longtime TV journalist, had unsuccessful runs for mayor in 2014 and council in 2018, but was elected to council in a byelection held in 2020 to replace Laurel Collins, who had been elected Victoria member of parliament.
In a release about her decision, Alto said a “broad range of Victorians” have been asking her for some time to consider a run for mayor. Now is the time to commit to those residents, take their advice and run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election, she stated.
Alto, who has law and science degrees, sat on the Capital Regional District board between 2011 and 2018 and has chaired the CRD’s Special Task Force on First Nations Relations. She serves as council liaison to a number of municipal and regional bodies and was president of the Canadian Capital Cities Organization for five years.
Andrew announced his candidacy for mayor last November and has been unofficially campaigning since. Even a few days before Alto’s announcement, Andrew appeared to be stirring the pot, posting on his public figure Facebook page, “A mayor should live AND sleep in the municipality they lead. What do you think?”
The comment seemed to be aimed at the fact Alto owns a home in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood of Victoria, but currently stays in another home not far away but just over the Saanich side of the border. Andrew also lives in Burnside Gorge.
Provincial election rules do not require a candidate to live in the municipality in which they are running for office. Current Victoria Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe has lived in Saanich the entire time she has served on council.
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