David Frisch presented an early twist to the Courtenay election landscape Thursday, when he announced he was stepping down from the mayoralty race, and will instead seek a second term on council.
Frisch’s decision comes on the heels of Mayor Larry Jangula filing his own nomination papers at City Hall Wednesday afternoon.
With Frisch backing out, there are now three declared candidates for mayor – Jangula, Bob Wells, and Erik Eriksson.
Frisch said Jangula’s decision to seek re-election played heavily into his own decision.
“Absolutely. My team and I were looking at numbers, and to be honest, we thought we had a really good shot, but we were getting the vibe back in May… and when it started becoming more apparent [that Jangula would run again] we thought we may end up splitting the progressive vote, because people do view Bob, Erik and myself as [similar],” he said Thursday morning.
Frisch did not take this decision lightly.
“It wasn’t easy. I feel that it’s a job that I do want, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose a bunch of progressive people. We need to work together, and this is a lesson I have learned. Even in provincial politics, with the collaboration between the Greens and the NDP, it makes all the difference in policy. Originally, we would just fight amongst ourselves on the left, and that’s kind of silly.”
Wells said he had heard rumours about Frisch possibly stepping down from the mayoral race, but knew nothing officially before being contacted by The Record. Wells said while he and Frisch do converse, there was no collusion between them, and the decision was solely Frisch’s.
“We do speak from time to time, and that topic had come up, but to me, first and foremost, I believe in democracy, so if David wants to run for mayor, I would say that’s his right,” said Wells. “I didn’t say ‘this is what we should do,’ but to be fair, I know there have been a lot of people asking that question, of myself, and I am sure of David as well.
“My conversations with David were more that I think there is a lot he can do as a councillor, and I would prefer to have him on my council, to move some of the items that we agree on moving forward.”
Eriksson was also unaware of Frisch’s decision before being contacted by The Record, but he wasn’t surprised at the turn of events.
“No not really,” said Eriksson. “I think he needs to develop more experience in government and I think other people have talked to him about that – I know I have expressed that.”
Eriksson said he thinks Frisch’s decision will help his own campaign.
“I think some of the people who might have supported David and some of his ideas are going to add to my campaign.”
Wells also believes he will benefit from Frisch’s decision.
“There are people who definitely would have voted for [either] David or me… and there would be some angst over who they would vote for. I think this will make it a much easier vote for folks. I think this creates a clear path.”
Mayor Jangula did not respond to an interview request.