Naheed Nenshi returns to Calgary City Hall with his council
Mayor Nenshi will be back in office for the next four years, defeating challenger Bill Smith by about 30,000 votes in a hotly contested race during the long campaign.
The incumbent mayor recorded just under 200,000 votes by the end of the night that saw a significant increase in the amount of voters heading to the polls.
The only time when Bill Smith held a lead was very early in the night, but as more and more polls began to report, Nenshi took the reins and did not look back.
He held the advantage for the rest of the night and prevailed with a seven point margin, taking 51 percent of the vote while Smith garnered only 44 percent.
During his acceptance speech, Nenshi said he will continue to come at his job with his own political style.
“I can’t promise you I am going to be a different person and I’m not sure you want that. But I can promise you that I will do my very best, that for the next four years I will put my pants on every day and go to work every single day for every single one of you.”
He said that he knew he was doing well early in the night as the first polls began to come in and had a good conversation with Smith after he was declared winner.
"I thanked him for putting his name forward and I thanked him for his lifetime of community service and for raising a wonderful family who I've gotten to meet during the course of this campaign. I also asked him to pass on my thanks to his campaign team and dedicated volunteers."
Bill Smith conceded the race at about midnight, telling his supporters to put aside their differences and work with the elected council and help Calgary move on.
He said that his campaign was founded on a lot of the frustrations felt by residents and those issues aren’t going away.
“I did get a sense from a lot of Calgarians that they’re frustrated about taxes, which you heard me talk about a lot. I suspect they’re feeling the same way provincially and with the federal government but it’s really too early to see how those will go.”
Every incumbent councillor in the election will also be returning to office and four new councillors in a number of new Wards were also elected. Jyoti Gondek was elected in Ward 3, George Chahal won in Ward 5, Jeff Davison is the new councillor for Ward 6 and Ward 11's seat is held by Jeromy Farkas.
Druh Farrell, re-elected in Ward 7, said that this was one of the most negative campaigns she's ever been a part of.
"It was extraordinary use of social media in the worst way possible. A lot of lessons from the U.S. I believe, but we would not go there, we would not go there. Calgarians want and deserve better than that. So, we cannot let this be the future of politics in this city."
Farrell said that the only way to excise those tactics is to improve lines of communication.
"It's to talk. It's to talk to your neighbours, to talk to your friends and your family about your vision for your city, your vision for your province, your vision for your country."
Nenshi, on Tuesday, shared similar comments about the campaign itself.
"This has been a really unpleasant campaign. I love politics. I have been volunteering on campaigns all my life, I've run for public office four times now, and I've never experienced anything like this. The nastiness, the division, the personal attacks; I think now, and it's an old cliche, but it's time to heal."
He says that the healing will likely begin with the approximately 166,000 people who voted for Bill Smith.
"There was so much misinformation over the course of four weeks, frankly lies that just got repeated over and over again. So it's important for us to do a reset and talk about where we really are as a community; what's our tax level? What are our real problems? What are the challenges that we face? The other thing is listen to the very real concerns people have about their own future."
For the full list of winners and other civic election coverage, you can check our election page.