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Opinion

Civic election: then and now

Who’s up, who’s down — it’s a matter of momentum

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/10/2014 (1732 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SOME politicians have gravitas. Others have fantastic ideas. Yet others are genuinely likable human beings. What a mayoral candidate really wants to have is momentum in a race, because the person setting the pace has all the power.

Back in July, in the first power-rankings column of the 2014 Winnipeg mayoral campaign, Judy Wasylycia-Leis had the most momentum. In the second, in August, Gord Steeves rose to the top on the basis of a flurry of bold announcements.

There’s now another change in the lead in the third and final assessment of momentum going into today’s vote:

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/10/2014 (1732 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SOME politicians have gravitas. Others have fantastic ideas. Yet others are genuinely likable human beings. What a mayoral candidate really wants to have is momentum in a race, because the person setting the pace has all the power.

Back in July, in the first power-rankings column of the 2014 Winnipeg mayoral campaign, Judy Wasylycia-Leis had the most momentum. In the second, in August, Gord Steeves rose to the top on the basis of a flurry of bold announcements.

There’s now another change in the lead in the third and final assessment of momentum going into today’s vote:

 

1. Brian Bowman (No. 3 in August)

The privacy lawyer with the Ultrabrite smile has the most momentum in Winnipeg’s mayoral race by virtue of his steady rise in popular support. He started at 11 per cent in December 2013, along with Coun. Paula Havixbeck. He’s now at 38 per cent and in a statistical tie for first, thanks to an Insightrix poll Gord Steeves is trying to dismiss.

Bowman is a curious co-frontrunner in that he has not presented Winnipeg with a solid financial plan or sound policy. He was also a terrible performer at most, but not all, debates.

His success to date lies in presenting himself as a moderate who can stand in the centre of an anyone-but-Judy tent. While that isn’t exactly inspiring, it may be enough to win.

 

2. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Unchanged from August)

You can’t blame the former NDP MP and MLA for running an ultra-cautious campaign this year, especially after making a mess of her bid for mayor in 2010. You also can’t blame her for sticking to the same series of talking points for months. After all, she wound up on top of every mayoral poll conducted in Winnipeg over the past 10 months before the Insightrix survey came out on Monday.

Now, however, Wasylycia-Leis’s sure-footed insistence on sticking to her plan is a liability. Like Bowman, she has not presented a solid financial plan or sound policy.

But she does not have the lawyer’s momentum. That alone, however, may be enough to motivate her volunteers to dig deep to get out the vote today. If she wins, it will be a triumph of campaign organization.

Mayoral candidates at a forum in September (from left): Brian Bowman, Paula Havixbeck, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Michel Fillion, David Sanders and Judy Wasylycia-Leis. Some have since gained, while others have lost, popular support, according to polls.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayoral candidates at a forum in September (from left): Brian Bowman, Paula Havixbeck, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Michel Fillion, David Sanders and Judy Wasylycia-Leis. Some have since gained, while others have lost, popular support, according to polls.

 

3. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (No. 4 in August)

When the university administrator entered Winnipeg’s mayoral race, even his (former) publicist couldn’t spell the candidate’s name. Now that Winnipeggers have gotten to know Ouellette, they like much of what they see, particularly the passion missing from so many other politicians.

Yes, some of his key promises were seriously flawed. Rail-line relocation could not be costed out and taxing surface-parking lots like taller buildings would be illegal. But Ouellette demonstrated you don’t need a lot of money to make a difference in a mayoral race.

He may yet play spoiler for either Wasylycia- Leis or Bowman. But the poll placing those two in a dead heat may also lead his 14 per-cent support to drop when all the votes are tallied tonight.

 

4. Gord Steeves (No. 1 in August)

A book could be written about the way the former city councillor’s campaign team destroyed its own candidate. It could be a mystery novel, featuring a four-day disappearance of a candidate after it was revealed his wife posted a racist rant on Facebook. It could be a sciencefiction novel about an ultra-conservative alien entity inhabiting the body of a moderate, red Tory. Or it could just be a tear-jerker about a really likable guy whose tone-deaf, out-of-touch platform prevented him from vying for a job he might have performed really well.

 

5. David Sanders (No. 6 in August)

The financial-whiz successor to the late Nick Ternette must be commended for doing his civic duty. He did little in this race but criticize the other candidates.

 

6. Paula Havixbeck (No. 5 in August)

For a sitting councillor, it is nothing short of amazing to fall from 11 per cent support at the start of the campaign to two per cent before the election. Havixbeck did not attract an experienced campaign team and the results speak for themselves.

 

7. Michel Fillion (No. 9 in August)

The booking agent who describes young exotic dancers as "kittens" remains in last place. On the bright side, he jumped two positions in the power rankings after Hazem Aslan and Michael Vogiatzakis failed to file valid nomination papers.

 

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 7:21 AM CDT: adds video, adds poll question

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