Andre Chabot insists he's still in mayor's race despite low poll numbers

Despite being well back in the polls, mayoral challenger and former councillor Andre Chabot says he doesn't think that will matter on election day.

'I’m comfortable with the campaign I’ve run. I have a plan to move the city forward'

Andre Chabot told CBC News at 6 that despite low poll numbers, he is still running to win the mayor's seat. (CBC)

Despite being well back in the polls, mayoral challenger and former councillor Andre Chabot says he doesn't think that will matter on election day.

A Mainstreet Research poll released last week put support for Chabot at six per cent — well behind front runners Bill Smith at 48 per cent and Naheed Nenshi at 31 per cent. Then a poll done this week by Asking Canadians pegged Chabot's support at just three per cent — again well behind Nenshi at 41 per cent and Smith at 26 per cent.

Despite that, Chabot told CBC News at Six he still considers himself in the race for mayor.

"If you look back at some of the previous campaigns, even Nenshi, I think, was polling at three per cent — although it may have been more than a week out — ... and he came up the middle."

Nenshi did poll in the single digits behind challengers Ric McIver and Barb Higgins before being first elected in 2010, which rose to double-digits as election day neared.

Chabot said he is receiving strong support while door-knocking, which is keeping his spirits high.

"I really don't put a lot of credibility in those push-polls, because they're typically looking for a specific response for one candidate over another," he said.

"All of the folks that I've talked to, whichever candidate they may have been leaning to, once I've had a chance to talk to them, they go, 'Wow, you are the guy ... to lead this city for the next four years.'"

Mayoral candidate Andre Chabot on staying in the race despite low poll numbers. 4:30

First elected in a 2005 byelection, Chabot was re-elected three times as the Ward 10 representative — in 2007, 2010, and 2013 — opting to seek the mayor's chair this time around.  

"I'm comfortable with the campaign I've run," he said. "I have a plan to move the city forward. I'm not trying to make myself look better by taking shots at anybody else. I'm there to present what it is I have to offer the city and my experience."

Last week, Chabot revealed he'd received calls to drop out of the race by some Smith supporters in order to avoid splitting votes, but reiterated he won't do that.

"I can't back out of the race. My name is on the ballot," he said.

"A lot of people have already voted for me and it would be disrespectful to those people who voted for me for me to even consider supporting somebody else."

Chabot said he finds it "a bit insulting and disrespectful to the position" for Smith to be running without any experience as an elected official.

A Calgary lawyer and former firefighter, Smith is the former president of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

Given a choice between Nenshi and Smith, Chabot said he would support "the guy with experience."

That's not an endorsement for Nenshi, though.

"It's not because the reason I'm running is because I can no longer work with him, and that's the reason I ran in the first place. I don't think he's leading the city down the right path," he said.

"Bill, he's making claims he's not going to be able to deliver."

Controversial comments

Chabot was also asked Thursday about a controversial comment made by Ward 1 incumbent Ward Sutherland at a debate the night before.

Many watching the debate felt Sutherland used the term "Johnny Jew" when speaking; however, the Ward 1 hopeful issued a statement Thursday afternoon insisting he said "Choo" and was referring to a New York designer.

Sutherland later clarified to CBC News he was referencing shoe designer Jimmy Choo — who lives in the United Kingdom.  

"It sounded like Johnny Jew, but you'd have to ask him to know what he meant to say," said Chabot when pressed by CBC host Rob Brown.

No matter what was said, Chabot doesn't think Sutherland meant offence.

"Knowing Ward for a few years now, I would say I think it was just a slip of the tongue," he said.

"This is akin to him saying, 'Put your John Henry on this signature' or 'Joe Blow' as typical references when you talk about somebody you don't know and you want it to be a generic reference."

​With files from CBC Calgary News at 6