Mayor bids emerge

LIKELY: Stephanie Asher has emerged as a potential challenger to Peter Murrihy, pictured in the inset, at next week's council mayoral vote.

By Natalee Kerr

The race for Geelong’s next mayor is shaping as a contest between two contenders ahead of Tuesday’s in-house election.

Deputy mayor Peter Murrihy confirmed his interest this week, expecting to face two-time mayoral candidate Stephanie Asher.

“Absolutely I’ll be throwing my hat in the ring,” Cr Murrihy told the Indy.

“I suspect that councillor Asher will nominate. I think maybe she’ll be the only other one.”

Cr Asher told the Indy she was “likely” to nominate.

“I’ve had some councilors ask me to do so, so I’m feeling encouraged to run,” she said.

Last month councillor Anthony Aitken expressed interest in running as deputy to Eddy Kontelj as mayor but declined comment further this week.

Cr Kontelj recently told the Indy the possibility of him vying for the role remained “very much open”.

“I’m still considering my options and seeing who else puts their hand up first.”

Cr Kontelj could declare late if he “wasn’t satisfied” with the candidates, he said.

“If I felt that what had been put forward may not deliver for the city and community for the level that is needed, then I would put my hand up.”

Crs Ron Nelson, Pat Murnane, Sarah Mansfield and Trent Sullivan have confirmed they will not nominate.

The Indy was unable to contact Mayor Bruce Harwood about his intentions.

He was recently granted a week’s leave from council duties, commencing the day after councillors’ mayoral vote.

Crs Jim Mason and Kylie Grzybek have previously indicated they were yet to decide on whether they would nominate but the Indy was unable to contact them this week about any decisions.

The new mayor and deputy will serve until the next council elections.

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