The municipal election is underway and the candidates for the municipal council are in the electoral campaign.
But candidates from previous elections want to impart their wisdom to candidates in this election.
Every campaign and every candidate’s experience is different. CBC News spoke to three people who have run for Windsor City Council before and asked them what advice they have for those running this time around.
“If you know you’re going to lose, give up”
Despite getting more than a third of the vote, Jeff Denomme lost to incumbent Jo-Anne Gignac in Ward 6 in 2018 by 1,027 votes, who got just over half the vote.
Denomme says the candidates running against the incumbents are barely mentioned in the news. He wants that to change.
“Every time I was on the radio they were like, ‘Ward 1, that person, that person. Ward 2, that person, that person. This is going to be a hot ride,'” he said.
“They come to Ward 6 and they say, ‘Don’t worry about Ward 6, it’s just the current person. Just carry on. Nobody really good runs. And it was bypassed. They would never say my name.
A political pundit says it’s part of the incumbent’s advantage.
“If someone has already taken the seat, assuming they haven’t done anything serious and a lot of people don’t like them enough to vote against them, they tend to have an advantage over the challengers. “said Lydia Miljan, professor of political science at the University of Windsor.
Denomme says that with better media coverage, his result would have been closer to Gignac’s. But he also gave some unusual advice to candidates who know they will lose the election.
“If you really want change and you know you’re going to lose, give up,” he said. “It’s the most important way to overturn something. Unless you’re on this team anyway, then who cares who wins? Let the [incumbent] stay indoors.”
Do your research
Ryan Mancini ran in the 2014 Ward 1 election. He won nearly 30% of the vote, but lost to Fred Francis by 583 votes.
He remembers the campaign as a grueling process.
“When I decided to get into racing, I decided to just focus on the campaign,” Mancini said. “It was a lot of work. I knocked on about 8,000 doors, which is almost every door in the department. I wore out a pair of shoes. I was chased by a Rottweiler on one occasion.”
Mancini’s advice to future board members is to do their research.
“Look at the job and figure out why you want to be a councilman,” he said.
“The registration process is very simple. You can go to the town hall and register for the race, but running an effective campaign takes a lot of work. You have to be prepared to put in a lot of hours, work hard to meet your constituents and address their concerns as best you can.”
‘Access as many doors as you can’
A candidate actually went to the council.
John Elliott was elected Councilor for Ward 2 in 2014. He also ran in 2010 and 2018 but lost both races.
During his time on the board, Elliott retained his position as executive director of the Sandwich Teen Action Group, an after-school program designed to keep teens off the streets.
WATCH | John Elliott explains why he wanted to be a councillor:
“The balance was easier for me,” he said. “I was lucky because I had this type of job where I had a lot of flexibility to [work on] advice and my work at the same time. If there were early morning meetings or different meetings, I might get out of work to attend meetings like that.”
In the 2010 election, Elliott lost in a recount by just five votes. He was more successful four years later, and he says it’s because he did one of the most basic things.
“Get in as many doors as you can and talk to people,” Elliott said. “You have to get people to vote, and you have to get those people to vote. When we won, we drove through the neighborhood. We didn’t miss any areas. It was very successful, and we were able to win.”
But for Elliott, balancing two jobs has been expensive.
“The thing that I didn’t think much about was burnout and its end,” Elliott said.
Miljan said door-to-door is the most important part of a campaign strategy.
“Even with social media and the electronic age, many candidates can reach many people through social media,” she said. “But it still matters on the pitch, knocking on doors, meeting individuals in their homes. People remember you if you take the time to knock on their door and talk to them.”
Elliott believes the reason he lost the 2018 election was because of burnout midway through the campaign.
“It doesn’t mean that I would still have won, but I didn’t go to a key area of the room to reach the doors,” he said.
“If people don’t see you, you’re out of sight and out of mind.”