Friday, October 4, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, October 4, 2013

Hamilton’s Mayoral Race Begins

Former mayor Fred Eisenberger plans to run for mayor of Hamilton next year.

“Barring the unforeseen … I’m going to be a candidate in 2014,” Eisenberger said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Eisenberger, who was mayor from 2006 to 2010, has been mulling over a comeback attempt for months.

His decision comes fast on the heels of Ward I Councillor Brian McHattie’s commitment to go after the mayor’s chair.

They’ll both face off against Bob Bratina, who unseated Eisenberger in 2010.

Though Bratina hasn’t formally thrown his hat in the ring, there’s no question he intends to seek a second term.

He made that clear again when asked about his mayoral plans after his recent resignation from the police board.

“I have no intention of not seeking re-election, but I’m not making any announcements until the time is for nominations to be announced,” Bratina told a media scrum.

That leaves Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, another potential big-gun candidate, still holding fire about his plans.

Ferguson has also been considering going after the mayor’s job for months. But with the election a full year away, he says there’s plenty of time for a decision.

“I’m still pondering it,” he says, noting he still very much enjoys his current job.

Eisenberger’s candidacy makes things a little awkward for McHattie in more ways than one.

Not only did McHattie endorse Eisenberger’s 2010 re-election bid, but Ward 1, McHattie’s home turf, was the only ward Eisenberger — who placed third behind Bratina and second-placer former mayor Larry Di Ianni — carried outright.

In addition, both men occupy pretty much the same centre-left space on the political spectrum, thus creating the possibility of vote splitting. (Continued: Andrew Dreschel, Hamilton Spectator)