THE battle for the mayoral chains in Armidale has intensified after news at least two challengers are vying to unseat incumbent Jim Maher for the role.
Cr Maher has signalled his intention to recontest for a second term but is expected to face opposition from fellow councillor Laurie Bishop and another yet-to-be-named contender.
Councillor Andrew Murat told The Armidale Express he had been approached by a mystery third councillor, who was strongly considering having a tilt at the top job.
“I don’t want to mention names at this stage and I will be in talks with candidates over the next few days,” Cr Murat said.
Meanwhile, fellow councillor Chris Halligan has ruled out standing as mayor but warned he may run next year if councillors could not unite behind the new mayor.
“Both Jim (Maher) and Laurie (Bishop) have a lot to offer and I think Laurie deserves more support for his vision for economic development,” Cr Halligan said.
“But I wouldn’t mind a ticket where either Jenny Bailey is mayor with Margaret O’Connor as her deputy, or the other way around.”
It comes after Cr Maher last Thursday released a list of achievements during his last term, imploring councillors to support him for a fresh term.
He said he would provide a “steady hand at the helm”, pointing to his work in economic development, environmental, council management and community policies.
The vote will be held at the council chambers this morning.
Also on the line is the deputy mayor’s job, with Cr O’Connor believed to be considering challenging incumbent Herman Beyersdorf.