WITH the hoopla surrounding the Federal election, Denmark ratepayers could be forgiven for forgetting a Shire poll is less than six months away.
But The Voice of the South is onto it and, as the first report on the various shire elections that will occur around the Great Southern on October 19, called every Denmark councillor whose term is expiring to ask if they will run again..
Also contacted were all unsuccessful candidates from the 2017 election, which readers may recall was vexed by social media trolling.
Clem Wright, who in 2017 narrowly lost his Kent/Nornalup seat to Roger Seeney after securing 46 per cent of the vote in a two-horse race said it was “a bit early” to say whether he would contest in October.
“I have had a few people blowing in my ear about that,” he confided.
“Often these things depend on who’s going to re-stand in their seats.”
The five council positions up for grabs are those of Kent/Nornalup councillor Janine Phillips, Scottsdale/Shadforth councillors Kingsley Gibson and Jan Lewis, and Town Ward councillors Ceinwen Gearon and Rob Whooley.
Mr Wright said he would “offer a lot of support” for Cr Phillips because “she was very supportive of me last time, so I hope she gets back in”.
“It will be quite an important election in a sense because it could see a major turnover in the makeup of Council,” he said.
Cr Phillips was contacted for comment.
Cr Lewis, who cruised into office after securing 31.2 per cent of the Scotsdale/Shadforth Ward vote in 2015, said she had given a run in 2019 a lot of thought but was yet to decide.
Cr Gibson, the last of three elected for Scotsdale/Shadforth in 2017 with 17 per cent of the vote, said he would “probably” run again.
“I wouldn’t say 100 per cent at this stage, but very likely,” he expanded.
Mike Neunuebel, unsuccessful in Scotsdale/Shadforth after receiving 9 per cent of the ward’s vote in 2017, said he would keep his powder dry and see “who else puts their hand up”.
“At the moment, what’s happening in town, I think is progressive, it’s sustainable,” he said.
“If a couple of the bad apples tried to get back in, I would probably run just to stir them up.”
Barbara Marshall, also unsuccessful after receiving 11 per cent of the ward’s vote in 2017, said she would not run again, mainly due to her health.
Belinda Rowland and John Sampson, unsuccessful in 2017 after getting 14 and 11 per cent respectively of the ward’s vote, were contacted for comment.
Shire President Ceinwen Gearon – who received 27 per cent of the Town Ward vote in 2015 – said she was considering a re-run but had not yet decided.
“It’s a serious commitment, and something I will have to discuss with my family,” she said, adding that she’d enjoyed her time at the helm.
Rob Whooley, who in 2015 romped in with 32 per cent of the vote in Town Ward after being sacked as Shire Engineer, said many Denmarkians had asked him to run in that year. He said he would only run again if asked again by several locals.
Richard Dembowski, who lost after receiving 8 per cent of the Town Ward vote in 2017, said he no longer lived in the Shire and would not run in October.
Former Shire President David Morrell, who was not re-elected to Town Ward in 2017 after being defeated by current councillor Ian Osborne, was contacted for comment.
Disclosure: Mr Wright is on the Board of the company that runs The Voice of the South.