What I look for in a CSM candidate is knowledge about the game, a passion for its future, and perhaps most important, the stamina needed to endure the grind -- because being on CSM is an exhausting experience.
What follows are my recommendations about the candidates that are not clear "locks" for election because they are the official candidate of a large in-game group. This list is intended to help unaffiliated voters fill out their ballots, and perhaps persuade "bloc" voters to make some modifications to the ballot they've been asked to vote.
The Fantastic Four
Four years on the CSM have shown me what it takes to do the job right. These are the candidates that, from long personal interaction and observation, I know have the “right stuff.” They will make excellent CSM members, I endorse them without reservation, and they should be high up on everyone's ballot.
If you have supported me in past elections, please do me the favor of supporting them in this one. Getting all four of them elected would be the best thank-you you could ever give me.
Brad King is one of my favorite people -- not just in-game but in real-life as well. I first ran into him because of an interview he did on the Lost in EVE podcast, and soon found a home in the corporation he leads, the infamous Dirt Nap Squad. Famous for losing more Arazu's than any other pilot in EVE history, Brad is dedicated to making sure everyone in DNS has the most fun possible, and his passion for the EVE community is obvious and undeniable. Out-of-game, he serves as a coach and a union representative, which gives him a skillset that will come in very handy on CSM. Over the years he's built up a lot of personal relationships with CCP staff, which will mean he will hit the ground running.
Ellen McManis was one of the big -- and welcome -- surprises of CSM 8. A relatively young podpilot, she impressed everyone on CSM with her knowledge, dedication and boundless energy, and zealously represented the interests of both new players and the NRDS community. Bluntly, she worked her ass off (for example, she took the lead in producing the Winter Summit Minutes), and fully deserves a second term.
Michael Dawe was always a bridesmaid, never a bride when it came to CSM -- until the change in election systems that debuted in CSM8. He then demonstrated that the voters had made the right choice by being a steadfast advocate for the High-Sec community, making sure that CCP took better note of their concerns. If you live in High-Sec, you want Mike back on the CSM.
David Whitelaw showed me he had the stamina to be a good CSM when he interviewed just about every CSM8 candidate on his Crossing Zebras podcast. I've been grilled by him more than a few times, and he has impressed me with his knowledge of the game, no-bullshit attitude, and great communication skills.
The Legion of Superior Candidates
James Arget is a CSM incumbent representing wormhole space. He's worked hard on CSM8 and quietly gone about doing what needs to be done. Wormhole residents should send him back for another term.
Steve Ronuken is a level-headed industrialists, and he has also done a lot of work developing 3rd-party applications. CREST development is an increasingly frequent topic of discussion between CSM and CCP, and he'll be invaluable for that.
I like the way Sugar Kyle presents herself (in particular, her concern for new players), and I get the same vibe from her than I did from Ali Aras in last year's election.
Major JSilva is the main Pandemic Legion candidate, but the reason I'm including him is that he has his head screwed on correctly on the big meta-topics of Force Projection, Sov and TiDi. Helping CCP find a good solution to these issues is the biggest challenge CSM9 will face.
DJ FunkyBacon is a well-known and respected host on EVE Radio, so he'll be great at communications. But he will also be a badly-needed voice for Low Sec and Factional Warfare.
Jayne Fillon is a passionate PVP advocate who will do well helping CCP with their ongoing ship balancing efforts.
corbexx, Proclus Diadochu and Asayanami Dei are the other three wormhole candidates. Wormhole space probably has enough votes to elect two candidates this year; they are on my ballot to help ensure that this happens.
And finally, in the wild-card slot, there is Psychotic Monk. I'm not a huge fan of ganking and scamming, but they are a community that should occasionally get a voice on the CSM.
Now that I've listed the 14 candidates I think should be on your ballot, there is the matter of the order in which they appear. In STV, you want to place your favorite candidates first, so the order will vary depending on your in-game interests.
Here are my recommended orderings:
DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,Mike Azariah,Xander Phoena,James Arget,Steve Rokunen,Sugar Kyle,Major JSilva,DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,corbexx,Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Psychotic Monk
Mike Azariah,Steve Rokunen,Xander Phoena,Sugar Kyle,DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,James Arget,DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,Major JSilva,corbexx,Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Psychotic Monk
Low-Sec / Factional Warfare
DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,DNSBLACK,Sugar Kyle,Steve Rokunen,Ali Aras,Mike Azariah,Xander Phoena,James Arget,corbexx, Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Major JSilva,Psychotic Monk
DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,Xander Phoena,Major JSilva,Mike Azariah,James Arget,Steve Rokunen,Sugar Kyle,DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,corbexx, Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Psychotic Monk
James Arget,corbexx, Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,Mike Azariah,Xander Phoena,Major JSilva,Steve Rokunen,Sugar Kyle,DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,Psychotic Monk
Steve Rokunen,Xander Phoena,Sugar Kyle,DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,Mike Azariah,James Arget,DJ FunkyBacon,Jayne Fillon,Major JSilva,corbexx, Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Psychotic Monk
Small Gang/Solo PVP
Jayne Fillon,DNSBLACK,Ali Aras,Xander Phoena,James Arget,DJ FunkyBacon,Sugar Kyle,corbexx, Proclus Diadochu,Asayanami Dei,Mike Azariah,Steve Rokunen,Major JSilva,Psychotic Monk
Use these ballots as a starting point; if you have a favorite candidate who is not on my list, by all means add them to the ballot, and if you think my ordering is wrong, change it!