Winnipeg election Gillingham edges Murray in mayor’s race
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WINNIPEG — Two-term city councillor Scott Gillingham has outlasted Glen Murray in a nail-biting election race to become Winnipeg’s 44th mayor.
It was a crowded contest, with 11 candidates — the highest total since 1992 — vying to succeed Brian Bowman in Wednesday’s municipal election.
Bowman, the city’s mayor since 2014, didn’t seek a third term, leaving the race wide open.
A Probe Research public opinion poll in July suggested the contest was Murray’s to lose.
He was backed by 44 per cent of decided respondents, giving him a wide margin over Gillingham, who was second at 16 per cent.
Murray’s support dipped slightly to 40 per cent in a Winnipeg Free Press-CTV Winnipeg survey conducted by Probe in September. Gillingham (15 per cent) remained his closest challenger.
A Leger poll commissioned by Gillingham earlier this month suggested the gap had narrowed, with Murray receiving the support of 28 per cent of decided respondents.
Gillingham was in second place, with 19 per cent.
Murray was Winnipeg’s mayor from 1998 to 2004 before resigning midway through his second term to make an unsuccessful bid to become a Liberal MP in Charleswood-St. James.
Kevin Klein, who abandoned his council seat to run for mayor, addressing his supporters at Assiniboia Downs and gave his “full support” to Gillingham. He encouraged Winnipeggers to get behind the new mayor.
“We have a lot of problems we have to fix, we have a lot of issues with crime,” said Klein. “We have an economy that is starting to fracture in many more places.”
Another challenger, Shaun Loney, said he hopes Gillingham puts homelessness at the top of his list of priorities. He’s ready to offer support and guidance, should Gillingham come calling.
“He knows I have a background in the issues that Winnipeg is really struggling with,” Loney told supporters in a Norwood Hotel banquet room. “It’s time to pull together as Winnipeggers.”
As civic and school board elections were held across Manitoba on Wednesday, eligible Winnipeg residents cast their ballots for mayor, councillors and school trustees at almost 200 polling stations between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
There were 42 candidates for councillor in 13 of 15 wards.
The incumbents in two wards — Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River) and Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) — were acclaimed, after no one signed up to run against them.
A record number of voters took advantage of advance polling between Oct. 3-21, with stations set up at shopping malls, community centres and other public locations.
According to the city, a total of 41,895 people voted early, a five per cent increase from the last election.
In 2018, 39,840 people voted before election day.
Voter turnout for municipal elections is usually low, although more Winnipeggers tend to participate when there is no incumbent running for mayor.
The turnout in the 2018 vote was 42.33 per cent, down from 50.23 per cent in 2014.
» Winnipeg Free Press