The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) yesterday rejected a media report about the possible replacement of Hu and Wu as candidates in the year-end mayoral and commissioner elections due to their low support rates.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday reported that the KMT could duplicate the so-called “Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) model” by withdrawing the nomination of Hu, who has been having a tough re-election campaign, and the embattled Wu, who reportedly is considered to have been tainted by association with a snowballing corruption scandal surrounding his former deputy Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文).
Hu has been trailing his rival Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate, in most public opinion polls by more than 20 percentage points and has been unable to close the gap, while the KMT was considering replacing him with Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), according to the report.
The “Chou Hsi-wei model” refers to the KMT’s decision to snub Chou’s re-election campaign due to his large deficit against potential rivals and to nominate Eric Chu (朱立倫) as candidate in the New Taipei mayoral election in 2010.
Chu eventually beat DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the balloting.
KMT spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) said in a press release issued yesterday afternoon that the media report regarding elections in Greater Taichung and Taoyuan County was “groundless.”
“As competition heats up in the run-up to the year-end elections, this could be a tactic applied by specific camps to undermine the KMT. The KMT pledges full support to those who have been nominated for the elections,” Chen said.
Hu, who has served as mayor of Taichung since 2001, said in Greater Taichung’s Cingshuei District (清水) that it was “a rumor from outer space,” adding that he suspected it was a trick to undermine what he described as his strong campaign, which is still engaging in a see-sawing battle with Lin.
Speaking in Taoyuan County, Wu said he echoed the KMT headquarters’ official position that the report was groundless and he would continue fulfilling his duty as Taoyuan County commissioner.
On Nov. 29, voters are to go to the polls to elect mayors and councilors of special municipalities, county magistrates and councilors, city mayors and councilors, township administrators and councilors, and borough and village chiefs.
Taoyuan is set to be upgraded to the sixth special municipality on Dec. 25, joining Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung.
Additional reporting by CNA