Edmonton voters turf Ward 5 councillor, re-elect mayor
Lowest voter turnout in municipal vote since 1980
A transit driver and a 28-year-old newcomer provided the biggest thrills in what was otherwise a lacklustre municipal election in Edmonton Monday night.
Amarjeet Sohi becomes the first member of city council in 39 years to come from one of Edmonton's ethnic communities. Sohi, an Indo-Canadianbus driver for Edmonton Transit, was elected in the southeast Ward 6 along with incumbent Dave Thiele.
"It empowers the community in a way that when they see … different ethnic minorities reflected at city hall, but I want to be very, very clear my victory is not just the victory of one ethnic community, this is the victory of people of Ward 6," Sohi said.
Sohi was in a close race with Chinwe Okelu, beating him out for the second spot by only 247 votes.
The biggest surprise of the night came in Ward 5, where 28-year-old Don Iveson captured almost 32 per cent of votes to upset incumbent Mike Nickel.
Experts considered Nickel a shoo-in, with three years as an alderman and two mayoralty races under his belt. But Iveson, a former student leader at the University of Alberta, and his team of young volunteers, proved the pundits wrong.
"I think all kinds of Edmontonians voted for me to say no, incumbents don't get to keep their seats just because they've been around for three years," Iveson said Monday night.
The southwest ward's other incumbent, Bryan Andersen, came in first, while Nickel finished third.
Mayor Stephen Mandel handily won a second term with almost 66 per cent of the vote, compared to hotel owner Don Koziak, who captured a quarter of voter support.
The retirement of two incumbent councillors guaranteed two new faces on city council. Businessman Tony Caterina will represent Ward 3, while theatre director Ben Henderson won in downtown Ward 4.
With the exception of Nickel, all incumbents were re-elected to council.
Despite a warm, sunny day, voter turnout was 26.8 per cent, the lowest since 1980.