Upsets, landslides, and squeakers make for exciting 2013 election
With incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi clinching victory early in the Monday evening election, the real fight was in Calgary's 14 wards, as several of the city's incumbent council members faced strong challengers.
Ward 1 - Recount expected as Sutherland sneaks by Harper
It was a tight race between Chris Harper and Ward Sutherland Monday night. At the time of publication, the race was so close that both candidates were expecting a recount.
Vacated after the retirement of long-time alderman Dale Hodges, Ward 1 in the city's northwest is home to booming suburbs like Tuscany, as well as historic communities around the University of Calgary -- making the ward ripe for debates over the contentious issue of basement suites.
Sutherland, endorsed by Hodges, supported the suites in only certain circumstances, while his three opponents all supported their legalization citywide.
Sutherland, former president of the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association, faced a tough challenge from Calgary's chamber of commerce advisor Harper.
Ward 2 - Third time's a charm for Magliocca
Joe Magliocca clinched a victory in Ward 2, left vacant by Gord Lowe after 12 years on council.This was Magliocca's third bid for a position on council. He was up against former city official Terry Wong, who placed fourth.
"We started going hard in June and we never gave up," Magliocca said. "For the last 12 years [Ward 2 has] been missing off of the city of Calgary's map so I want to reinstate that. I want to be more involved with our community and the decisions that we can make together."
He added it was very humbling to be standing in front of his friends and family as he celebrated his victory.
"My first action as alderman is trying to stop Nenshi from the $52 million that we get from the excess taxes that the province has given back to us and putting it back into the peoples dwelling into their property tax... so it goes back to the people where it belongs," Magliocca said.
Ward 3 - Incumbent Jim Stevenson clobbers challenger
Jim Stevenson cruised to victory over repeat candidate Tanveer Taj, taking 81 per cent of the vote, compared to Taj's 19 per cent (at publication time.)
Ward 3, in the city's northeast, has seen a few changes during this election. The Martindale community was moved into Ward 3 from Ward 5 to even out the population between the two wards. Some Martindale residents expressed frustration and confusion about the change, with some predicting lower than usual voter turnout.
Councillor Jim Stevenson has been on city council since 2007.
Ward 4 - Sean Chu upsets Gael MacLeod
Ward 4 incumbent Gael MacLeod, looking for her second term, was defeated by candidate Sean Chu. In an Italian restaurant, a room full of of Sean Chu supporters were buzzing with the results, chanting as the upset became clear.
"The mood is great," Chu said. "As you can see a lot of people here. I'm very grateful for so many friends and volunteers helping."
Chu said he is committed to connecting the community to the city.
"If they feel ownership, the community will be better," he said. "Kids should have an adequate sports facility, social programs, and everyone should have affordable housing."
Ward 4 includes the communities of Castleridge, Coral Springs, Falconridge, Monterey Park, Rundle, Temple, Vista Heights and Whitehorn.
Ward 5 - Incumbent Ray Jones 20 years strong
Ray Jones took the vote by a landslide as he was elected in for his eighth term as councillor in Ward 5.
The most talked about issue in Ward 5 for this election was the potential closure of McCall Lake Golf Course. But the biggest issue according to Jones was voter apathy. Jones has held the seat since 1993, making this his twentieth year on city council. Two hopefuls, Bev Hearn and PritPal Singh Dhaliwal made no headway in their bid to overtake Jones.
Ward 5 includes such neighbourhoods as Discovery Ridge, Signal Hill, West Springs and Cougar Ridge.
Ward 6 - Pootmans back in the saddle again
Incumbent Richard Pootmans has reclaimed his seat as representative for Ward 6. Challenger Joe Connelly had a brief lead early in the evening and it seemed that Monday night football was the biggest attraction at Pootmans victory venue -- Shillelagh's Pub.
But as the night continued, Pootmans came out on top and supporters cheered as they watched early election results roll in.
"I recognize it's huge -- a majority vote, over 50 per cent support – and that comes with a significant amount of responsibility," Pootmans said of his Ward 6 win.
"I'll be continuing a very close consultation with the community associations and residents. We have a very strong communication system with our ward offices," he added.
Connelly, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen Monday evening. Some supporters, waiting for him at Richmond Pub, eventually left when their candidate failed to show.
Both Pootmans and Connelly sparred over who deserved credit for the West LRT line, as well as other transit projects in the ward. The proposed ring road through the Tsuu T'ina Nation was also a major talking point in the ward.
Ward 7 - Fifth council win for Farrell
Ward 7 incumbent Druh Farrell won her ward for the fifth time Monday night. The celebration at Farrell's headquarters were lively. With "Winnie the Druh" teddy bears hanging from the ceiling and supporters serenading the crowd with joyful tunes, Farrell pulled into the lead ahead of three other candidates -- Kevin Taylor, Brent Alexander and Joylin Nodwell.
"I'm really happy with the result, obviously," Farrell said.
"We ran a very positive campaign and I'm not afraid to talk about the issues. It's time to talk about smart growth, and taking care of existing infrastructure." she added.
This was by no means an easy win for Farrell. She faced criticism over the way she handled this summer's flood, which heavily impacted the southern portions of this ward along the Bow River.
"It's also time to talk about the flood," Farrell said. "We need to start planning to mitigate for future floods"
Farrell's campaign manager, Heather McRae, said: "We wanted to have a really clear message, we wanted to define the issues and set the tone of the campaign before our opponents could. I think the results tonight show that we were pretty successful in doing that."
Ward 8 - Mar concedes after unexpected upset
There will be a new face in Ward 8 as John Mar conceded to newcomer Evan Woolley. Mar represented this inner-city ward since 2007 and said that if people wanted a change, he wouldn't argue nor would he regret the results.
"My chapter is over and it's time to pass the torch to someone else. Whether or not this is my preference, this is the people speaking," he said. "When the cards turn against you, democracy isn't pretty."
Mar gave a few words of advice to new Councillor Woolley.
"Be yourself, be as true as you can. You have to be careful that you don't let your job take over your life," he said, adding that for now, his days as a politician are over.
Mar left his headquarters to support Woolley's win. Woolley said he wasn't surprised by Mar's appearance as they have a long history together.
"We did it!" Woolley exclaimed to his supporters while volunteers responded with thunderous applause.
Woolley said his first order of business would entail sitting down with all 20 neighbourhoods in Calgary to do the things they've been trying to do, whether that's a four-way stop or a bike lane, projects he deemed "low-hanging fruits."
"We can get some small wins out of the way right off the bat."
Speaking prior to Monday night's election, Woolley told the Calgary Journal, "Our neighborhoods have been neglected -- especially within the inner city. The city has been growing rapidly, mainly in our far-flung suburbs and we've been subsidizing that development at the expense of our own inner-city neighborhoods' infrastructure."
Aside from flood concerns, transit and secondary suites were hot-button issues in this campaign.
Ward 9 - Incumbent Carra wins
During election night, Gian-Carlo Carra and his wife watched the results trickle in from the back of the Ironwood Stage and Grill, located in Inglewood. Carra's challengers included Jordan Katz and Richard Wilkie, whom he beat handily. He addressed his supporters with a speech thanking his campaign manager and volunteers.
"I believe a great city only comes about by great neighbourhoods," he said. "It's an honour to represent the amazing communities of Ward 9."
Stretching along the Bow River and Deerfoot Trail, and from Renfrew to Acadia, Ward 9 has been represented by Carra since 2010. Carra was a major figure in the city's reaction to the flood, especially in and around his home neighbourhood of Inglewood.
Ward 10 - Incumbent Chabot trounces challengers
Andre Chabot was re-elected again in Ward 10.
Andre Chabot was first elected in a 2005 by-election and has represented this east-central ward since. This highly multicultural ward, along International Avenue, has been concerned with neighbourhood revitalization in Forest Lawn, as well as the debates over transit and the legalization of secondary suites. Chabot faced off against engineer Numan Elhussein and entrepreneur Nargis Dossa.
It may not be a surprise to the residents in Ward 10 that Andre Chabot gained the lead quickly and stayed ahead of the opposition all night. Chabot himself has been a resident of Ward 10 since 1971, and has been the ward representative for eight years.
Ward 11 - Tight race with repeat victory for Pincott
After a tight race that flip-flopped all night, incumbent Brian Pincott beat out James Maxim for the second election in a row and was re-elected to serve another term as councillor.
Pincott arrived at the Wild Rose Brewery shortly after the polls closed to the cheers of approximately 40 supporters.
As results trickled in, Pincott said he wouldn't exactly say he was excited, but agreed that anxious might be a more appropriate description.
Challenger James Maxim made camp at his headquarters with approximately 30 supporters oncethe polls closed. While awaiting the results, Maxim said that his campaign had been "fun, exciting, and lots of hard work." He sat off to the side as his team crowded around the computer screen looking at the latest counts.
Maxim led at one point during the night, but late in the evening Pincott took a solid lead. Shortly before midnight Maxim conceded, telling his team not to be upset, and reminding them that they did the best they could have possibly done.
"I couldn't be more proud," he said.
Pincott has represented this southwest ward around Glenmore Reservoir since 2007. The ring road deal with the Tsuu T'ina nation, as well as local transit concerns, were hot topics during the election campaign. But in his victory speech, Pincott said his first order of business would be to address Calgary's "major housing crisis" - after taking a brief holiday.
Ward 12 - Keating in for another term
Incumbent Shane Keating was re-elected to represent Ward 12 with over 70 per cent of the vote against his only challenger Stephanie Kusie.
Ward 12 includes the communities of McKenzie Towne and Cranston and reaches the edges of the southeast city limits. Both candidates said that the southeast LRT would be a priority in the next term.
Ward 13 - "Big Red" machine rolls over competition
Despite tough challenges from Scott Sorokoski and Adam Frisch, Diane Colley-Urquhart won re-election Monday night with over 50 per cent of the vote.
Ward 13 includes such southeast communities as Lake Bonavista, Fish Creek, Shawnessy and Spruce Meadows.
This year, two candidates stepped up to challenge Urquhart, whose Twitter handle is BigRedYYC.
Ward 14 - No surprises for incumbent Demong
Councillor Peter Demong was re-elected for his second term Monday evening, taking more votes than any other council candidate. Demong was first elected in 2010 when he defeated the then-incumbent Linda Fox-Mellway by more than 3,000 votes.
He was challenged by Shawn Kao who also ran for council in 2010. Among other things, Demong's list of issues included taxation and transportation.
The Calgary Journal election team included: Amara McLaughlin, Andrew Szekeres, Brent Dufault, Jenica Foster, Brittany Fong, Geoff Crane, Jocelyn Doll, Kassidy Christensen, Paulina Liwski, Ryan Rumbolt, Alexandra Rabbitte, April Lamb, Kian Sumalpong, Krystal Northey, BAJ Visser, Deja Leonard, Donella Swan, Jodi Egan, Pauline Zulueta and Roxanne Blackwell.
- By THE CALGARY JOURNAL ELECTION TEAM