The Two René Lévesques

Posted by Paul, 2017-03-01

The contest in the Quebec provincial election of 1960 in Montreal-Laurier featured the debut star candidate, René Lévesque, a television news broadcaster famous around the province. Running for the Liberals, he faced off against three opponents on election day: Arsène Gagné, the incumbent Union Nationale candidate, Jacques Tozzi, an Independent, and an Independent Liberal candidate -- René Lévesque.

Was René Lévesque such a star candidate that he had to run twice? Hardly. Instead, René Lévesque (the not famous one) was just a challenger to the future premier of Québec: the Montreal Gazette at the time described one of the René Lévesques as "one of French-Canada's best known TV and raido [sic] commentators" and the other René Lévesque as a man "whom Levesque No. 1 supporters believe is a bearded beatnik". It will be left to the reader to decide which René Lévesque the Gazette was referring to in each case.

Ultimately Lévesque got to experience a rare joy, being a candidate with the rare distinction of facing against a candidate with the same name. It has happened a few times before. For instance, former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner faced off against Rhinoceros Party candidate John Turner in Vancouver Quadra in 1988.

In an even better election held last June 2016, Vasile Cepoi, the incumbent mayor of Draguseni, a town in Romania, faced strong challenges from two opponents Vasile Cepoi and Vasile Cepoi. It's not really a spoiler to say that Vasile Cepoi did indeed win.