Ludlow would step up if Shadbolt stood down
He's the golden boy in the eyes of the voters, the highest polling councillor three terms in a row and entering his fifth term around the table.
But Invercargill city councillor and deputy mayor Darren Ludlow will not be drawn on whether he will cash in his success and make a run for the mayoralty at the next election, instead saying his family would always come first.
The Balclutha boy first entered politics in his early 30s with a full head of hair, unmarried and with no family responsibilities.
It was the start of a local body political career which has seen him rise through the ranks to deputy mayor and has left him eyeing up the mayoralty.
The 48-year-old says he has no set plans to challenge long-serving Mayor Tim Shadbolt, but there is little hesistation in his response when he was asked if he would make a run for the mayoralty should Mr Shadbolt stand down.
"Yep, I would."
Mr Ludlow said "growing up in the spotlight" had made him resilient and forced him to become thick-skinned.
And while he maintains he can handle the criticism he recieves, as soon as it takes a toll on his two sons, he is quitting.
Mr Ludlow can't put his finger on what makes him so successful, but said he thought it was because of his high profile in the community and his fairness.
His family focus resounds throughout the interview. In fact, the Ludlow family celebrated his success on Saturday by having breakfast at McDonald's the following day.
But not every election morning has been celabratory for the father-of-two, after making an attempted come back to local politics in the 2002 by election, he missed out, with former Southland Times chief photographer Barry Harcourt pipping him for the post.
The loss did not dampen his spirits and he comfortably swooped in during the following council election, polling second highest.
He has been on a high ever since.
"I expected to not be at the pointiest end this time, simply because the longer you're on, the harder it is to stay up there."
Mr Shadbolt said he would welcome any challenge from Mr Ludlow and believed a mayoral race would benefit both of them.
He had been an "excellent" deputy mayor and was an honest and articulate man, Mr Shadbolt said.
He confirmed that it was most likely Mr Ludlow would be deputy mayor for another term, with discussions being held on positions during the next several days.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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