Most incumbents regain their seats… but not all Transcona voters make Nason the lone incumbent on outside, looking in
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Thirteen of 15 city council seats were up for grabs Wednesday; Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) and Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River) had already been acclaimed. Here’s a look at what happened across the city.
Wyatt reclaims Transcona
When it comes to civic elections, voters like incumbents — but that doesn’t mean they are always invincible.
Shawn Nason was the lone city council member to lose a re-election bid Wednesday night. Nason, who represented Transcona since 2018, was defeated by Russ Wyatt, the longtime area councillor who sat out the last campaign. With all the polls in, Wyatt had 6,010 votes to Nason’s 5,034.
Wyatt held the seat from 2002 to 2018, but didn’t run in the last election after taking a leave from council during his final term to seek addictions treatment and, shortly after, was charged with sexual assault. Wyatt insisted he was innocent and the charge was later stayed.
“It’s been a very humbling experience to be able to come back into public life and to serve the community,” he told the crowd during his victory speech Wednesday night.
“I’ve been born and raised in this community by my parents and family. And there’s been tough times. But the key thing is that there’s always an end to the storm, and there’s always light, and you have to go toward the light.”
“I’m ecstatic:” Dobson wins St. James
Wyatt will be joined at city hall by another familiar face; former St. Charles councillor Shawn Dobson was elected in St. James to fill the vacancy left by Scott Gillingham, the city’s new mayor.
Dobson lost to Gillingham four years ago when the two incumbent councillors had to face off against each other when their wards were amalgamated. His closest challenger Wednesday was Kelly Ryback, who for years was the guy inside Winnipeg Blue Bombers mascot Buzz’s costume.
“I’m ecstatic,” Dobson said as reporters arrived at his election party at his mother’s house — where he grew up — moments after he learned he’d won, with 4,880 votes to Ryback’s 3,693.
Wearing a suit and surrounded by a small group of supporters who passed around mimosas, Dobson said he was ready to hit the ground running.
“This time, I know what I’m getting into,” he said. “I’ll be much more effective.”
Duncan defeats Anderson in Charleswood
The other open seat was in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, which had been held by Kevin Klein, who finished third in the race for the mayor’s chair behind Gillingham and former mayor Glen Murray.
Evan Duncan, a Manitoba Justice employee who convinced residents he was best-positioned to tackle crime in the area and across the city defeated the familiar voice of longtime CJOB broadcaster Hal Anderson with 52 per cent of the vote.
“We got it done,” a beaming Duncan told reporters at his celebration in a Boston Pizza lounge minutes after being elected.
“I’m here to represent Charleswood, Tuxedo and Westwood. I want to make sure that people have a voice at city hall, and I’m ready to work.”
Noting he had narrowly lost to former area councillor — and now federal Conservative MP — Marty Morantz for the seat back in 2014, he said “this is the feeling we were waiting for.”
“Now that it’s here, I couldn’t be more happier,” he said.
Anderson said he was “disappointed,” but respected the voters’ choice.
“I wish Evan Duncan all the best,” he said. “I feel like I could’ve brought real change… I will hold the new mayor and council’s feet to the fire on radio and go back to a job that I love.”
Santos re-elected in Point Douglas
Vivian Santos, who drew some controversy during her first term in Point Douglas, easily defeated Order of Manitoba member and businessman Moe El Tassi and former real estate agent Joe Pereira, collecting 54.5 per cent of the vote.
Santos, who cited an unspecified medical condition as her reason for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 last year, making her the only member of council who hadn’t received a shot, was removed as acting deputy mayor last year by outgoing mayor Brian Bowman. She was also forced to resign from the Winnipeg Police Board after failing a security check.
In a victory speech to her supporters Wednesday night, Santos said it had been a “challenging” four years, especially as the pandemic made it difficult to hold in-person community events. As a result, some constituents felt she hadn’t been visible enough during that time, she said, and she vowed to focus her second term on building those connections.
“Moving forward, my reassurances to you, the residents of Point Douglas: I will not let that happen again,” she said, celebrating at her headquarters in the Meadows West neighbourhood.
“I will be more readily available. I have plans to open a constituency office so that I will be more accessible within the community,” she said.
In other wards…
It was billed as a battle in Mynarski between an incumbent councillor and his longtime executive assistant, but it turned out differently.
Coun. Ross Eadie easily staved off a challenge by his closest competitor to win a fourth term. Natalie Smith — who has worked for both NDP MLA Lisa Naylor and Santos in Point Douglas — finished second, with 2,016 votes, behind Eadie’s 3,779. Aaron McDowell — who decided to run for council when Eadie told him a couple of years ago he would take a run at the mayoralty — finished with 1,798 votes.
When Eadie changed his mind about running for mayor, McDowell decided to run against him.
Daniel McIntyre voters gave Cindy Gilroy a three-peat victory Wednesday. She bested both Sal Infantino, the owner of X-Cues Cafe and Lounge on Sargent Avenue and a lifelong resident of the ward, and Omar Kinnarath, the founder of the Mutual Aid Society and the organizer of a counter-protest against the so-called Freedom Convoy earlier this year.
Jason Schreyer beat former Winnipeg Jet centre Thomas Steen to win his first term as councillor in Elmwood-East Kildonan and now he has scored a hat trick.
Schreyer, the son of former Manitoba premier and governor general Ed Schreyer, won his third term on council defeating Ryan Kochie, a chef and father of four who described himself as an “average guy who works an average salary.”
Sherri Rollins, the former chairwoman of the Winnipeg School Division, served up an electoral lesson to gain her second term on council in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry by defeating challenger Michael Thompson with about 75 per cent of the vote.
It is almost Halloween, but it must have seemed like Groundhog Day to voters in North Kildonan — it’s the third consecutive time that the names on the ballot and the result were the same.
Coun. Jeff Browaty, the longest-serving politician at city hall, will be around a while longer after winning a fifth term on council by defeating Andrew Podolecki. Browaty received more than 10,000 votes to the 4,000 Podolecki got.
River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow won his fourth term on council by easily romping past both Brant Field, a construction project manager, and Gary Lenko, who ran a ballroom dance club before trading dancing shoes for a hammer and working in home repair.
Matt Allard won a third term representing St. Boniface Wednesday, handily defeating Nicholas Douklias, the owner of Helios Restaurant on St. Mary’s Road, and 70-year-old real estate agent Marcel Boille.
Brian Mayes has represented St. Vital, Winnipeg’s most populous ward, since 2011, and he won the right to represent it for another four, defeating Baljeet Sharma and Derrick Dujlovic.
Mayes received the most votes of any council candidate in the election, scoring 12,500, or 83.5 per cent.
It has been eight years since Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes had to run in an election — she was acclaimed four years ago — but she showed no rust Wednesday, easily winning a third term by defeating Pascal Scott, who worked in property development and planning in Asia for more than 10 years.
— with files by Gabrielle Piche, Katrina Clark, Melissa Martin, and Malak Abas
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.