Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson returning for 3rd term

Jim Watson was elected for a third consecutive term as Ottawa's mayor Monday, allowing him to continue overseeing some of the major projects he began over the past eight years at the city's helm.

Watson easily eclipsed nearest challenger, former city councillor Clive Doucet

Jim Watson thanked his supporters, calling the victory 'incredibly humbling.' (Laura Osman/CBC)

Jim Watson was elected for a third consecutive term as Ottawa's mayor Monday, allowing him to continue overseeing some of the major projects he began over the past eight years at the city's helm.

With 759 of 759 polls reporting, Watson has 71.0 per cent of the vote, and leads his nearest challenger, Clive Doucet, by more than 129,000 votes, according to unofficial results. Voter turnout in the election was 42 per cent.

Watson will now be poised to see his signature project — the light rail transit system — through to completion, and guide the $3-billion LRT extension in the works.

Watson, speaking in front of a crowd of supporters at the RA Centre Monday night, called the results "incredibly humbling and a great honour."

With tears in his eyes, Watson talked about how this election was different because his parents, who both died during his last term in office, would not be able to share "in the joy of celebration."

In his victory speech, Jim Watson reflected on the importance of his parents. 0:36

"Both my mother and father continue to be in my heart every day, and I hope to be able to continue to make them proud along this journey," he said.

Speaking about the upcoming term, Watson said he's looking forward to working together with the elected councillors.

"The election is over and we have to come together to make sure that our city continues to prosper and we continue to move important files forward," he told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Tuesday. 

It was a commanding victory for Mayor Jim Watson, 71 per cent of voters handed him his third consecutive win as mayor last night. 9:17

7 new faces on council

Watson can expect to see seven new faces on council: Laura Dudas in Innes, Jenna Sudds in Kanata North, Glen Gower in Stittsville, Theresa Kavanagh in Bay ward, Shawn Menard in Capital ward and Carol Anne Meehan in Gloucester-South Nepean and Matthew Luloff in Orléans.

While new blood can lead to new divisions on important issues, the mayor said he'll continue to seek ways to move major projects forward.

"It's a healthy democracy when there is division on certain issues, but I think it's my role minimize the division and make sure we can move the agenda forward," he said. 

Watson campaigned to cap tax increases at three per cent — a rise from the two per cent cap he imposed last term — with the aim of using the money to fix roads and cover unexpected costs related to cannabis.

He also pledged to hire 75 more police officers and 56 more paramedics, and spend about $1 million on economic development.

Results surprising, Doucet says  

Doucet, a former city councillor who previously ran for mayor in 2010, campaigned to lower transit fares, provide more affordable housing and bring more transparency to municipal government.

He may have lost the mayor's race, but Doucet says he accomplished something else. 0:36

Doucet said he was surprised by the results.

"You can't work as hard a we did for two months and not believe you're going to do really well," he told CBC radio's Ottawa Morning Tuesday. 

"We were really confident.… I think Ottawa will change and you will see most of the things in my platform eventually happen, but it will take four more years."

Clive Doucet tried to sell himself as the choice for change but he just couldn't break through Jim Watson's block of supporters. 6:32

The city clerk is expected to declare the official results by Thursday.

The other 10 candidates were:

  • Hamid Alakozai
  • Ahmed Bouragba
  • Bernard Couchman
  • Joey Drouin
  • Ryan Lythall
  • Craig MacAulay
  • Bruce McConville
  • Michael Pastien
  • Moises Schachtler
  • James T. Sheahan