10:35 pm: We’re ready to call it. Calgary’s next mayor:
Yes, that’s right. Canada’s conservative heartland just elected a mayor who is a visible minority, practicing muslim, Harvard graduate, university professor, and a policy wonk. And he wears purple.
Nenshi’s rise is truly astonishing when you consider that he was polling in single digits, 35 points back of first, just four weeks ago. Sure, he had a bunch of Twitter followers and had released more policy than anyone else in the race, but the election was all about McIver versus Higgins. The problem was, neither McIver nor Higgins were saying much of anything.
So, poll after poll, Nenshi kept rising. He kept offering solutions to the problems facing the city, while McIver and Higgins argued over the proper amount to increase property taxes by. In the end, Calgary voters showed they weren’t hung up on image, on name recognition, or on political affiliation. They voted for the best candidate, and the best candidate won.
This was a good day for democracy.
10:03 pm: Bad sign for Ric McIver. The volunteer they send out to speak on his behalf calls him “MacGyver”. At this point, it may take MacGyver to get Ric out of the mess he’s in, because Nenshi keeps pulling away.
9:59 pm: In the more interesting race, for last:
Oscar Fech 25
Gary F. Johnson 30
Amanda Liu 32
And Wayne Stewart (380) leads among the candidates who aren’t actually in the race any more…
9:58 pm: The Nenshi HQ numbers have him up around 13,000 to 9,000 (McIver) to 8,000 (Higgins) based on their scrutineer numbers.
9:48 pm: Well that didn’t take long. Higgins falls down to third as McIver’s home ward (12) and downtown north (ward 7) come in.
9:39 pm: The results to date -
But the far south wards (McIver country) and the city centre/NE/campus wards (Nenshi country) are still to come. I still think Higgins might wind up in third when all is said and done.
8:59 pm: …and CTV is going to “Dancing with the Stars”. Because, yeah, it’s been an exciting election and all but, at the end of the day, we all really want to know how Bristol Palin is doing.
8:49 pm: Steve Mandel projected to be re-elected as mayor of Edmonton.
8:46 pm: CTV shows us the race in Pincher Creek – Rob Buckner is wearing a ballcap in his official campaign picture. The Calgary Grit decision desk is going to call that race for Bucker right now, with 0% of polls reporting.
8:21 pm: We have results! The first poll is in…presumably from Barb Higgins’ street. Barb has 26 votes, giving her a 20 vote lead on Naheed.
8:09 pm: Darrel Janz is wearing a purple tie on the CTV broadcast. Is this a slight to his old co-host?
7:45 pm (mountain time!): I’m coming to you live from the Calgary ex-pat election night party in Toronto, surrounded by purple t-shirts, Barb Higgins haircuts, and Ric McIver action figures (pull the string and he says…nothing – just like Ric!).
I’ll be updating the results and adding commentary as it comes in, while dishing out the numbers on aldermanic races and maybe even some Edmonton results. Hell, you might even get some hockey scores and weather forecasts while I’m at it!
While you wait, you can read my profiles of the candidates (here, here, and here), my endorsement of Nenshi, and my consternation at how Rob Ford could be the next mayor of Toronto and Naheed Nenshi could be next mayor of Calgary.