Swan sets sights on top spot in City of London
Ward 3 Councillor Joe Swan is adding his name to the list of candidates to be London's next mayor.
Swan, 58, made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, confirming what many had suspected for weeks.
"Being a politician needs to be restored as an honoured and respected position in our community," Swan said. "I believe Londoners are looking for a skilled and experienced mayor in which they can be proud."
Swan also asked for Londoners help in creating jobs and keeping a tight rein on taxes.
Ward 7 Councillor Matt Brown and former councillor Roger Caranci - along with Swan - are currently considered front-runners in the race.
However, there are over a dozen declared candidates. A full list of candidates is available on the City of London website.
Brown seemed unfazed by Swan's news.
"I'll be the first to welcome Coun. Swan to the race. It won't change my plan whatsoever. I've indicated since January that I will run on my vision."
Caranci also welcomed Swan's decision. "A good thing about it is, it brings another perspective to the race. It's always good to have more people in the race - you get more ideas, good ideas."
About 50 people were on hand for Swan's announcement at the London Music Hall, including fellow councillors Bud Polhill and Bill Armstrong. Former police chief Murray Faulkner was also there.
Swan said if elected, he’ll look at a municipal utility partnership that would integrate hydro and water across southwestern Ontario, as well as a new mobility plan for the London Transit Commission. And he’d consider an annual $500 tax credit for seniors who wish to stay in their own homes.
Western University political science professor Andrew Sancton says Swan's addition will divide the vote and it could be a close race.
"A three-person race can be very unpredictable, and in the absense of an incumbent as well, it means it is going to be quite exciting, I think."
Another candidate could also mean fewer bucks from donors funding the largest campaigns.
"If there are three major candidates for mayor, plus supporting some councillors, it probably means less money to go around," Sancton says.
The new performing arts centre is already slated to become a major election issue after council on Tuesday approved a six to eight week extension so more work can be done on the business plan.
That timeline means no final decision can be made by the current council, as it is expected to become a 'lame duck' council after the final day for nominations to be submitted in September.
Voters go to the polls in the municipal election on Oct. 27, 2014.