'Bowmentum' propels Brian Bowman to victory as Winnipeg's new mayor
'Positive change is coming to city hall,' mayor-elect says to supporters
Brian Bowman will be Winnipeg's first new mayor in 10 years when he is sworn in on Nov. 4.
Bowman was elected Wednesday with 111,504 votes, or 47.54 per cent of the vote. His closest rival, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who initially took the lead just after polls closed, ended up with 58,440 votes or 24.92 per cent.
"I can't express the honour, the gratitude and the excitement I feel right now," Bowman said during a victory speech as supporters chanted "Bowmentum, Bowmentum."
Bowman came into the race with no political experience and early on in the campaign was listed by pollsters as having about three per cent support. That exploded in the past couple of weeks, sending him to a bigger win than anyone had predicted.
"I'm excited to tell you that positive change is coming to city hall," he told supporters.
Wasylycia-Leis conceded shortly before 9:30 p.m., calling the campaign a roller-coaster.
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Wasylycia-Leis said she called Bowman and "I wished him well on his journey and I congratulated him for a decisive victory."
She added, "I will continue to fight with every breath to build a stronger city, a city that works."
Robert-Falcon Ouellette came in third place with 36,823 votes, while Gord Steeves has 21,080 votes. Rounding out the pack were David Sanders, Paula Havixbeck and Michel Fillion.
Bowman succeeds Sam Katz, who has been mayor of the Manitoba capital since 2004 and is not seeking re-election.
Winnipeggers had from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. to vote for mayor, councillors and school trustees.
Has no political experience
Bowman, a 42-year-old business and privacy lawyer, started talking about running for mayor's job over a year ago.
He started campaigning in May, promising to bring a more open and accessible style of leadership to Winnipeg city hall.
In his victory speech, Bowman thanked some heavy-hitters who endorsed him, including Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman, former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and local businessman Obby Khan, former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon and his wife, Janice, and current Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari.
Unlike some of his opponents, he promised to complete the city's bus rapid transit system by the year 2030, including the much-debated Phase 2 that would extend the existing rapid transit corridor to the University of Manitoba.
Earlier this week, a poll conducted by Insightrix Research for Global News and CJOB put Bowman just two percentage points ahead of Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who had been considered the front-runner throughout much of the mayoral race.
"What it does demonstrate is there has been momentum building for us over the course of the campaign, and that's been unmistakable," he said on Monday, when the poll results were released.
Bowman lives in Winnipeg's Charleswood neighbourhood with his wife, Tracy, and their two young sons.