139, that is the number of murders that have taken place within New Liverpool this year. Currently, the city is on pace to surpass the previous year’s murder rate. Other crimes are also on the rise such as robberies, assault, and theft. Although traditionally limited to Southland and the area’s around the Silverado River, the concern is growing among business and government leaders as the number of assaults and robberies has grown in Midtown and even in Govermeant Hill. An MP was held up in an armed robbery of a jewelry store, the suspects were later caught. Much of this violence is fueled by tension between Kaijanese gangs and other established criminal elements such as the Red Star Triads. The current mayor, Vincent Robles has attempted to solve the issue by increasing police presence and investing in youth programs to steer youth away from gangs. This has drawn criticism from the right and left.
The current frontrunner is Pia Michello, an independent although she has been endorsed by the Centrist Party. A former city councilor and business leader, Michello rose to prominence in 2021 by starting a non-profit called SummerCares, the project is named for her adopted daughter Summer Willis who was a victim of gun violence. SummerCares has launched a number of education centers in low-income areas throughout the city. However, she is not without controversy, as footage of her making statements describing a group of young Kaijanese boys who attended a program with SummerCares as “having dangerous and radical views”. Michello clarified that this was Islamophobic, however, the Kaijan Union Party has already put out Kaijanese language attack ads against her. She is polling at 35.2%
Not far behind is Raymondo Lee of the Socialist-Labor Party, like many Socialist candidates before him, Lee is a union leader of Local 288, a union of food service workers. Lee has built his campaign around expanding services, raising the minimum wage to SM 100(17.5 Sanctarian pounds) an hour. Although he has a strong base among union workers, his relatability to the non-union left wing may be difficult. He is polling at 26.5%
Third is the incumbent mayor, Vincent Robles. He is jointly endorsed by the National Alliance-Green Party, although national-level leaders of either party is yet to support Robles. The former city councilor from the East Bank has struggled to maintain support as his 4 years in office have been some of the worst years for crime and violence in the city. He has also faced backless for multiple incidents, including in 2022 when he fought a former staffer inside a Sun-Mart. According to the Mayor, he was buying hot noodles, and a former staffer intentionally bumped him with the spicy liquid. He ended up fighting the staffer before being broken up by a Sun-Mart employee. The entire fight was recorded by a bystander and posted on social media. Currently, Robles is polling at 16.8%.
The final major candidate is Mahmoud Iqbal of the Kaijan Union Party. A Kaijanese community leader, Iqbal has been vocal against the continued violence in Southland. He had called for more job opportunities for youth and scholarships for students in Southland. Iqbal has also appealed to the Mallacan community, which has grown rapidly in New Liverpool in the last 5 years due to the conflict there. Iqbal is polling at 15.4%
Other candidates include Brandon Jamieson of the New Conservatives, Allia Chang, an independent former schoolteacher, and Ellington-Su Jones of Revolt! and cousin of Minster of Education and Revolt! leader Spartacus Jones.
The primary election is on September 1st, which will narrow the candidate field to just 4 candidates, before the November 1st election date. This is also being held concurrently with City Council elections in the 53 districts.