Jon Lord fully expects to wake up Tuesday morning as mayor of Calgary.
“We have certainly had a huge impact in what was suppose to be a coronation,” he said in between visits with small-business owners during the last full day of campaigning Sunday. “We have raised a whole ton of issues that likely wouldn’t otherwise have been raised — I’m expecting to win tomorrow.”
Not a single political analyst weighing in ahead of Monday’s ballot appears to agree with the confident challenger — most have suggested incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi will receive somewhere between two-thirds and four-fifths of the total votes cast.
But there are races that many expect to be much closer, including Ward 2, where the battle to take the reins from longtime aldermen Gord Lowe appears largely wide open. Even candidates vying for the seat suggested Sunday that, if they do win, it will be by the narrowest of margins.
“I think it’s going to be a four-way split . . . either way, win or lose, I gave it my all,” said Bernie Dowhan, who’s pointed to traffic issues as the top concern in the northernmost riding.
Joe Magliocca, who finished as runner-up to Lowe in the past two municipal ballots, said he’d been hearing concerns from residents that fellow candidate Shawn Ripley doesn’t actually live in Calgary.
Ripley did confirm the validity of some land-title documents provided by the Magliocca campaign for a plot in Rocky View County, but said he actually lives in East Village.
Ripley said he wasn’t surprised to see a move targeting his campaign.
“Some of the candidates are clearly seeing that voters are getting my message, my vision and what I’m doing,” he said. “Last time I checked, owning land outside the city is not an issue — in fact, I own land in B.C. too.”
Also running in Ward 2 are candidates Richard Poon and Terry Wong.
In Ward 1, another vacant seat, first-time candidate Ward Sutherland said he had organized teams of volunteers to waive at traffic Sunday, adding he too expects a tight.
Sutherland said he believe his business background is resonating with voters and the fact that he’s the only Ward 1 candidate advocating “conditional support” for legalizing secondary suites. A Metro analysis last week suggested other Ward 1 hopefuls John Hilton-O’Brien, Chris Harper and Judi Vandenbrink support blanket legalization.
But Sutherland said “There are a lot of communities that simply don’t want them.”
Closer to the city core, Ward 7 incumbent Druh Farrell said she always campaigns like she’s 10 votes behind.
“Every vote will count and I certainly don’t take it for granted,” she said. “We start from scratch each election.”
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Analysts are expecting a strong showing from Ward 7 challenger Kevin Taylor. He had not responded to requests for an interview at press time.