Scott Gillingham will be Winnipeg's next mayor after tight race
Gillingham won with 27.5% of vote over Glen Murray's 25.3%
Scott Gillingham will be Winnipeg's next mayor after a tight race, where he and his closest rival remained neck-and-neck up until the last ballots were counted.
With all polls reporting just before 10 p.m. CT, Gillingham had received 27.54 per cent of the ballots cast. The second-place candidate, former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, got 25.29 per cent.
Gillingham, who was previously a city councillor, prevailed Wednesday evening by a margin of 4,391 votes.
"What a night," Gillingham said to applause as he came out to address supporters at the Clarion Hotel shortly after 10 p.m.
"Next week, it will be my high honour to serve and to govern and to lead this city."
Winnipeg's mayor-elect said once he's sworn in on Nov. 1, his first priority will be to pull the 15 other members of the new city council together to develop a strategic plan.
"It's important that every councillor from across the 15 wards of this city has a part in building the plan for the city's future," he said in an interview after being elected Wednesday evening.
"All of those people need to have a seat at the table and a voice in the plan we're going to build."
Gillingham was first elected as a city councillor in 2014 in the ward now known as St. James.
WATCH | Scott Gillingham addresses supporters after win:
He was re-elected in 2018 and resigned from his roles on council's executive policy committee and as finance chair in April to run in a race to replace Brian Bowman, who announced in 2020 he would not run for a third term as mayor.
Bowman congratulated Gillingham on his win on Twitter Wednesday night.
"Look forward to working with you in the coming days to ensure a smooth and orderly transition," the outgoing mayor wrote.
Voting results earlier Wednesday evening initially showed Murray in the lead — something he referenced in his concession speech.
"For a few minutes there, we knew what it felt like to win. And it was exciting. It was exciting because we've worked so hard," Murray told supporters around at the Fort Garry Hotel shortly after the final results came in.
"I want to congratulate councillor Gillingham on his victory," he said. "I'm committing to support the new mayor and council."
With all votes counted in Winnipeg's city council races, 12 incumbent councillors will return to city hall.
WATCH | Glen Murray concedes to Gillingham:
There will also be one new councillor — Evan Duncan in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood — and two former councillors returning after an absence from city hall (Russ Wyatt in Transcona and Shawn Dobson in St. James).
Rivals congratulate Gillingham
Two other mayoral hopefuls congratulated Gillingham in their concession speeches earlier Wednesday evening.
"It looks like councillor Gillingham will now be mayor Gillingham, and I want to give him my full support," mayoral rival and former Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood Coun. Kevin Klein told supporters in a speech just after 9 p.m.
Social entrepreneur Shaun Loney also offered Gillingham his support.
WATCH | Kevin Klein offers Gillingham 'full support':
"I also wanted to congratulate what appears to be mayor Gillingham. He and I had some issues on the campaign, disagreements about policy. I want to offer him my full support," Loney told his supporters.
"It's time to pull together now as Winnipeggers and I am fully prepared to do that and want to wish him the best in his new role and hope he hits the ground running."
Klein and Loney were the third- and fourth-place finishers, with 14.8 per cent and 14.7 per cent of the vote, respectively.
Political scientist Chris Adams said it's unusual to see a candidate win Winnipeg's mayoral race with under 30 per cent of the popular vote.
WATCH | 'Time to pull together,' says Shaun Loney:
"We've never seen that historically in Winnipeg," Adams, an adjunct professor in political studies at the University of Manitoba, said earlier Wednesday evening on CBC's live election results show.
"This would be historic, that [we see] somebody winning less than 30 per cent."
Gillingham's win marks the lowest percentage of the popular vote a Winnipeg mayor has gotten in modern elections. Prior to this, the lowest was in 1995, when Susan Thompson won with 38.3 per cent.
It's also the closest mayoral race the city has seen since 1977, when Robert Steen defeated Bill Norrie by 1,819 votes — or 1.24 percentage points.
Gillingham emerged victorious after a long campaign period with a crowded pool of candidates vying for the spot.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette won 7.7 per cent of the vote, Jenny Motkaluk 3.8 per cent, Rana Bokhari three per cent and Rick Shone 1.3 per cent.
Don Woodstock, Idris Adelakun and Chris Clacio each had less than one per cent.
WATCH | Winnipeg Votes 2022:
With files from Sam Samson and Bartley Kives