Naheed Nenshi has defeated Bill Smith, winning by 54% to 46%.
While the Mainstreet Research poll had reported that Smith had a large lead heading into election day, Nenshi ended up winning a relatively narrow victory, especially compared to the over 70% of the vote he received in the last election.
The head of Mainstreet Research frankly admitted that they failed miserably:
Congrats to Mayor Nenshi & his great team, looks like we fucked up, too early to say how bad
— Quito Maggi (@quito_maggi) October 17, 2017
All incumbent Calgary city councillors were re-elected.
Nenshi had faced increased criticism over an elitist and arrogant attitude, tax increases, and dysfunction at City Hall. Meanwhile Smith’s campaign generated surprising momentum in a campaign that was expected to be easy for Nenshi at the outset, though Smith was criticized for releasing little real policy and being short on details.
Nenshi’s divisive tactics worked
A disturbing aspect of the Calgary mayoral campaign were the divisive tactics used by Nenshi. He tried to imply that those who opposed him were being motivated by racism, rather than simply disapproving of his time in office. Unfortunately, we live in an era where many political leaders win votes by casting themselves as victims, rather than projecting strength. As a result, it appears Nenshi’s divisive tactics may have worked for him, and given him another term in office.
Now, higher taxes, more bureaucracy, and more big-government spending awaits Calgary.