Ukip: Paul Nuttall, the new Ukip leader. Pro-Brexit, of course, and that will be enough for many to give him their vote. On the one hand, as Ukip leader his voice would certainly be loudly heard in the House of Commons and in the establishment media. On the other hand, being a busy party leader would he have enough time to be a proper battling turbo-charged local M.P.? Of the sort that Stoke both deserves and needs?
Labour: Gareth Snell. A local councillor for Silverdale in the neighbouring town of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Vehemently wants to remain in the EU, according to his Twitter tweets, although I guess he could suddenly have a 'miraculous conversion' to Brexit for the by-election.
Conservatives: Jack Brereton. A local Stoke candidate and one of the excellent Conservative local councillors who are now taking the lead on economic development in Stoke-on-Trent. It would be a great pity if we suddenly lost him to Westminster through a fluke vote.
Lib Dems: Dr. Zulfiqar Ali. A cardiology (heart) consultant, presumably with the NHS. Wants to remain in the EU, reflecting the policy of what remains of the Lib Dems. Looks like he'd make a good solid local M.P., Brexit aside, but there seems no chance of him winning.
Christian Peoples Alliance: Godfrey Davies. Retired Merchant Navy deck officer. Pro-Brexit, apparently. His Alliance wants investment in the pottery industry and to pressure the government to protect Christian minorities abroad, both very worthy causes. Just so long as the funding idea makes the distinction between propping up failing factories and investing in successful ones.
Doubtless there will be a few more fringe candidates looking for some free publicity, but basically it's looking like it's starting off as a straight tussle between Ukip and Labour.