Calgary·Calgary Votes 2021

Calgary mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas pens letter asking for strategic votes

A candidate in Calgary’s upcoming mayoral race has written a letter asking for voters to place their ballots strategically. 

Political science professor says the move is not a common strategy

Calgary's municipal election is set for Oct. 18. (Mike Symington/CBC)

A candidate in Calgary's upcoming mayoral race has written a letter asking for voters to place their ballots strategically — a move a political science professor described as not a common strategy.

"I am asking you to consider the stakes and vote strategically. I understand I may not be your first choice, but I want to learn from you," Jeromy Farkas wrote in an open letter addressed to potential voters for Brad Field or Jeff Davison. 

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt says asking for strategic votes is not unusual and has been seen previously during the election campaign, but the letter itself is not a common strategy. 

"Often it is subordinates and it is proxies that make the appeal for strategic voting. In this case, it's the actual candidate doing it in writing, directed at two candidates. So that's a bit unusual," he said. 

Davison and Field were polling behind Farkas, according to results of a recent survey published by CBC Calgary. That poll showed Jyoti Gondek rivalling Farkas for first place. 

"Both Field and Davidson have come out swinging, criticizing Farkas for writing that letter," Bratt said. 

"All candidates are trying this last minute pitch to get people to either change their vote or to convince undecided voters." 

Farkas said no candidates are in a position to feel comfortable. 

"You have to do your best to get out that vote … you can't be complacent in these final days. You have to work as hard as you can until the very end to earn that support," Farkas said. 

Competitors react

Field's campaign issued a statement in response to the letter from Farkas. 

"Efforts to persuade Calgarians to vote strategically, disregarding their own judgment of the merits of the candidates, shows a lack of the leadership and integrity needed to lead our city, and reveals a desperate attempt to sway voters with a 'crisis narrative,'" he said. 

Davison said following the letter, his team's internal polling showed a different picture, and said he's in second place. 

"We know our internal polling is showing we're now in a strong second position and Calgarians have a choice to make as to who they want to be their mayor. And it's between me and Gondek," Davison said. 

He also said Farkas' letter turned voters off. 

"You know, trying to get our supporters out to pretend like they're his, it's quite laughable," he said. 

Gondek's campaign team said throughout the campaign they've seen many polls. 

"Some good, some bad. As the saying goes, the only one that matters is on election day and we feel very good about our chances."

Calgarians head to the polls on Oct. 18. 

With files from Helen Pike


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