Edmontonians go to the polls today to send a new mayor and at least six new councillors to city hall.
The election marks the end of nine years in office for Mayor Stephen Mandel. In May, the popular mayor ended months of speculation by announcing he would not seek a fourth term.
CBC election coverage
Join us online as we present the election results live from the Mercer Tavern with host Mark Connolly.
Our online show with all the action from the Mercer, as well as coverage from across the city, starts at 8 p.m.
While you’re watching the live stream, you can also talk about the results in a live chat hosted by the CBC’s Scott Lilwall.
It all starts at 8 p.m. at cbc.ca/edmonton.
Councillors Karen Leibovici, Don Iveson and Kerry Diotte are running to succeed Mandel in a race that also includes Josh Semotiuk, Gordon Ward and Kristine Acielo.
Diotte, 57, is a former newspaper journalist and columnist who has served one term on city council.
Leibovici, 61, was first elected to council in 2001 and has been a social worker, labour negotiator and Liberal MLA.
Iveson was 28 when he was first elected to council in 2007. Now 34, he is one of youngest candidates in the race.
Rounding out the field are Semotiuk, an electrician, Ward, a businessman and Acielo, a student and employee for a sales and marketing company.
Leibovici, Iveson and Diotte represent three of the six vacated city council seats. Wards 1, 2 and 6 are also open after councillors Linda Sloan, Kim Krushell and Jane Batty decided not to run again.
Whether these races will get people to the polls remains to be seen. In the 2010 election, 33.4 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, a slight increase from 27.24 per cent in 2007.
In 2004, 41.79 per cent of eligible voters voted in the election which saw Mandel defeat three-term mayor Bill Smith.
Time to step down
In an interview with CBC News last month, Mandel, 67, said he didn’t believe he had the energy and fresh ideas to spend four more years in office.
Mandel worked 80-hour weeks as mayor, often rising at 4 a.m. to be at work for 7:30. Many days didn’t end until 9 or 10 at night.
“It’s a lot of hours and hours,” he said. “For the mayor [it] is way more than anybody else because people expect the mayor to be at events and I think that’s a responsibility I take seriously.”
Mandel is credited for uniting council and taking the city in a new direction by extending the LRT and pushing for large scale projects like the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum.
But he also had a reputation for losing his temper when things didn’t go the city’s way.
In 2010, he famously lashed out at Conservative cabinet minister and area MP Rona Ambrose when Ottawa didn’t fund Edmonton’s bid to host Expo 2017.
However, Mandel — who admits that trying to be patient was the hardest part of his job — said he wouldn’t change anything about his approach.
“Sometimes I can’t get my big mouth shut but that’s who I am,” he said.
“I think to change who you are, because you’re a politician, is misrepresenting the public. I am who I am."