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This article was published 23/10/2014 (1339 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Brian Bowman's landslide victory in Winnipeg's mayoral race took everyone by surprise, including Bowman.
Retired political science professor Chris Leo said the mayor-designate offered Winnipeggers what they really wanted, and Winnipeggers responded.
Bowman "had an extensive program with quite a lot of things in it," said Leo, a senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg. "People were looking for aspirations. People took a look at what (Bowman) was promising and him personally and decided he was the best."
Residents gave Bowman, the first-time politician, a resounding 47.5 per cent of the vote, almost more than all the other candidates combined. Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the favourite for most of the campaign, scored 24.9 per cent while Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the race's surprise, was credited with 15.7 per cent in third place.
Bowman had no explanation for the magnitude of his victory and, while quick to credit his team, he admitted on election night he wasn't even certain he was going to win.
"I wasn't expecting this — I wasn't expecting to win, to be perfectly honest," Bowman said. "I didn't really know what to expect."
The outcome defied the predictions of the various opinion polls that tracked the campaign. Even the final poll released Monday by Insightrix Research gave Bowman only a marginal edge over Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
Curtis Brown, a vice-president at rival polling firm Probe Research said everyone expected a close race on election day.
"I don't even think that (Bowman's team) thought it was going to be such a crushing landslide."
Leo said Wasylycia-Leis ran a conservative campaign, betting a few sound, practical policies would resonate with voters. She was wrong.
"She didn't want to get tagged with the NDP big-spender label, so she was making sure she had achievable objectives and they wouldn't be unduly costly — that turned out to be the wrong call."
In contrast, Leo said Bowman came out with an aggressive, optimistic set of policies.
"He presents himself as an optimistic person who gets things done," Leo said. "He could be accused of having an over-ambitious program, but we can only conclude people of Winnipeg were looking for an ambitious program."
Brown said while Probe's own work, and that of other polling firms, showed Wasylycia-Leis with a commanding lead throughout the campaign, her vote never materialized on election day.
Why her vote disappeared will likely haunt Wasylycia-Leis, and her campaign team, for years and be the subject of much speculation.
"What went wrong with Judy's campaign?" asked Allen Mills, chairman of the University of Winnipeg's political science department. "It was there for her to win."
Mills said Wasylycia-Leis had earned 42 per cent of the vote when she lost to Sam Katz in the 2010 election, but wasn't able to hold onto that vote this time around against Bowman.
Wasylycia-Leis repeatedly boasted during the campaign about her 30-years of experience as an elected official, but appeared flustered quite often when questioned, did not always answer questions about her policies or could not explain or defend her proposals with any degree of certainty.
"My sense is her campaign didn't catch fire and she's not a very good global politician — she's more of a North End, ward heeler politician," Mills said. "When you run for mayor you have to project yourself onto a wider stage and I'm not sure she's actually good at that."
Mills said the provincial NDP backed her campaign, but she wasn't the best NDP candidate to run for mayor.
"She had a first-refusal position within the backroom people who decide these things, but her campaign didn't catch fire.
"And in contrast to someone like Bowman and Ouellette, she looked jaded and not very visionary."
Brown said Bowman positioned himself, with a broad and comprehensive platform, as everyone's second choice and when the steam ran out of the campaigns of Waslycia-Leis and former councillor Gord Steeves, voters turned to Bowman.
"Bowman picked up this real surge in momentum over the last three weeks," Brown said.
Early in the campaign, Steeves called on right-leaning voters to coalesce around one candidate to defeat Waslyscia-Leis. Brown and Mills said those voters chose Bowman.
Brown said the voter-turnout numbers from the wards seem to indicate Bowman was able to get his vote out, but Wasylycia-Leis did not.
Voter turnout in city wards that are traditional NDP strongholds, and likely key centres for Wasylycia-Leis, was low, Brown said: Point Douglas, 39.1 per cent; Mynarski, 36.9 per cent, Daniel McIntyre, 43 per cent, Elmwood-East Kildonan, 41.2 per cent and Transcona, 49 per cent.
In contrast, the turnout was much higher in southern suburbs believed more sympathetic to Bowman: In his home riding of Charleswood-Tuxedo, the turnout was 57.2 per cent, in neighbouring River Heights-Fort Garry, 57.2 per cent, St. Charles, 53.9 per cent and St. Vital, 52.2 per cent.
HIRE a new chief administrative officer.
At the organizational meeting of council on Nov.12, will introduce motions to reduce salaries of the mayor, members of executive policy committee, Speaker and deputy Speaker.
November would be spent preparing for the 2015 budget, meeting with department directors to outline his goal of securing a two per cent reduction in department budgets and other efficiencies, and planning changes in senior administrative staff.
At the December meeting of council, will introduce a series of motions to reduce councillor ward allowances, abolish the office of policy development and communication, require lighting and landscaping standards for surface parking lots and create his office of public engagement.
In January, Bowman will have a new CAO in place and he would begin his cross-country tour of major Canadian cities in an effort to lure new business to Winnipeg.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.
Updated on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 6:38 AM CDT: Replaces photo
7:08 AM: Adds videos
8:19 AM: Corrects typo
9:34 AM: Corrects typo