INCUMBENTS: Cr Victor Attwood and Cr Sheila Ireland (inset) have two of the more intriguing battles ahead of them in the local government elections in Division 3 and Division 9 respectively.
INCUMBENTS: Cr Victor Attwood and Cr Sheila Ireland (inset) have two of the more intriguing battles ahead of them in the local government elections in Division 3 and Division 9 respectively.

Attwood in poll position in Division 3

THE growing field of candidates in Division 3 looks set to hand Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood an upper hand in his quest for re-election at the March local government elections.

The more candidates against the incumbent the better because they split the rest of the vote, making it most likely that the sitting candidate will top the poll.

Optional preferential voting is in force in the council elections and, because it is optional, a lot of people don't cast second, third or fourth preferences.

For those reasons Division 3 could be won with well less than 50% of the vote.

Jim Dodrill and Danny Donohue are tipped to be the major challengers for Cr Attwood but Hayley Finocchio and Steven Wood are also lining up and will split the vote further.

It would be highly unlikely that preferences would get any of the second to fifth placed candidates over the line.

With nominations still open for candidates to put their hands up, Cr Attwood could well have more opponents lining up to have a crack at him.

As party allegiance is not such an issue in local government elections, name recognition becomes more of a factor.

Incumbents therefore have a significant advantage.

Either way, Cr Attwood is taking nothing for granted and will stand on his record of delivering for his electorate.

"My view is that as an incumbent you attract more of the vote because of the work that you have done," he said.

"You also annoy people if you haven't done what they want, so incumbency can be a double-edged sword.

"But as an incumbent you attract a certain amount of the vote and your opposition fight over what is left.

"The more people that run against you, the easier it is to win.

"I know as an incumbent your worst nightmare is when you have one opponent because it crystallises the opposition into one person."

Cr Sheila Ireland
Cr Sheila Ireland FILE

Cr Sheila Ireland has two Labor Party candidates against her in Division 9 - Jade Connor and Darren Baldwin.

That duo will likely divide the Labor vote which could play into Cr Ireland's hands.

Mr Baldwin, of the right faction of the party, has knocked on just about every door on Division 9 while Mr Connor has handled himself well with media engagements to date.

In Division 9 there has been a massive influx of population so Cr Ireland will be seeking support from those who have not voted for her before.

Cr Ireland has picked up some territory in Augustine Heights, but lost her conservative heartland of Raceview in a redistribution, which is a blow.

"But I have not got any concerns about it," Cr Ireland said.

"I think that I have worked very hard for the residents in Redbank Plains and Springfield Lakes and I hope they will be able to see it that way.

"I've had monthly meetings in Redbank Plains and Springfield Lakes to give the residents access to me and had a regular turn-up at the meetings.I think the people will know who I am."



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