One is a mayor with green policies and staunch supporters who has come under fire for providing wobbly leadership. Another is a popular broadcaster and councillor with down-home charm, a temper and a slim platform. The third is a former school principal and mayor who has run a commanding campaign but can’t shed his past mistakes.
And on Monday, one will be elected Hamilton’s mayor.
Even veteran political observers are having a difficult time predicting whether Hamiltonians will choose Fred Eisenberger, Bob Bratina or Larry Di Ianni on Monday. A Spectator/Nanos poll conducted between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 found the race was neck and neck, with Bratina holding a slight lead but with the largest block of voters still to make up their minds.
In a race this tight, the best-organized team is the most likely to win, said McMaster University political science professor Henry Jacek.
“The organization really matters at the end of the campaign,” he said. “But it’s really hard for me to figure at this point — they all have strength coming down at the end, but they all have weaknesses. There’s really no clear winner here.”
Unlike Toronto, where several high-profile heavyweights kicked off the race on the first day of 2010, Hamilton’s campaign got off to a sleepy start. Eisenberger has always said he would seek re-election, and though some high-profile Hamiltonians mused about running against him — including former Lakeport CEO Theresa Cascioli and Councillor Lloyd Ferguson — at first, it seemed like Eisenberger would face little competition.