Municipal election wrap-up

By Katy Anderson

Calgary’s 2007 municipal election passed without many surprises Mon., Oct. 15.

Incumbent mayor Dave Bronconnier won with 61 per cent of the vote. Alnoor Kassam received 17 per cent of the vote, Sandy Jenkins was in third place with eight per cent and University of Calgary engineering student Jeremy Zhao received four per cent. The other five candidates collected a combined 11 per cent of the vote.

“We have a mayor that won in a landslide,” said U of C communications and culture professor David Taras. “It was just a crushing victory and I think that will give Mr. Bronconnier a lot of power in the city council. There’s no question that politically, in terms of municipal politics, Bronconnier owns the city. Again we saw the power of the Bronconnier machine last night and his personal popularity. We saw some upsets and some change of faces in city hall. Mostly the incumbents won by acclamation or by large majorities. Where there were upsets, we got different kinds of messages. Pincock for instance, in Ward 11, is considered an environmentalist. Stevenson, who won in Ward Three, is considered more of a right-wing person. John Mar, who won in Ward Eight, he’s a law and order guy. [There are] a lot of different messages out there but it’s very hard to beat an incumbent and the incumbents tend to do very well.”

Taras explained this year’s candidates did not have much of a chance against Bronconnier.

“I don’t think any of them were viable,” Taras said. “I think what this signals however is that next time a wealthy candidate or a candidate who has a lot of money and a lot of experience and some backing could really give Bronconnier a tough time. Three years is a long time, Bronconnier may have provincial ambitions, he may have federal ambitions. We don’t know where he’s going to be next election. These were not brand name politicians; these were kind of a gaggle of ordinary, interesting people. There were no political powerhouses there and it may be that next time he does face a Gary Mar, or somebody else who will be very tough competition.”

Zhao was not unhappy with the results.

“I mean 8,000 votes, that’s still a lot of votes,” said Zhao. “I looked at the last election and Mike Powell got about 4,000, so 8,000 votes is definitely a statement, four per cent of the vote. I think people were still very excited, they all said you did very well for a 19-year-old.”

Kassam noted he was also not disappointed with the results–despite that each vote cost him about $30.

“I just looked at the numbers and over 30,000 people voted,” said Kassam. “I feel I made a difference, the reason I ran was to make a difference. I want to thank all of the Calgarians who came out and participated in this election.”

Kassam declined to comment on any future plans.

“I’m just savoring the moment,” he said. “I’m enjoying this with all of my friends, relatives. People have flown in from all over the place to be a part of this.”

In Ward One, Dale Hodges won with 12,000 votes, green candidate Jennifer Banks got 8,000 votes and Norman Perraut received 800 votes.

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