Halifax Mayor Mike Savage announces he’ll run for third term

Halifax mayor Mike Savage addresses the crowd at the annual Treaty Day parade in Halifax on October 3, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Mike Savage has announced that he will run for a third term as the mayor of Halifax, joining Coun. Matt Whitman as the only candidates to declare for the position in the upcoming Halifax Regional Municipality’s mayoral race.

Savage confirmed to Global News on Wednesday that he will seek re-election in October’s municipal election.

READ MORE: Halifax election 2016: Mike Savage returns, Lindell Smith takes Peninsula North

He said he didn’t anticipate announcing this early, but felt the time was necessary.

“I didn’t think the election needed to be signaled a year in advance, so I had to make a point to let people know,” he said.

“I just wanted to send out a word that I was seeking another term as mayor, and that I’m proud of the work that’s be happening in the city.”

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Savage was first elected in 2012, coming out on top of a six-candidate field to win a majority of the votes. He was re-elected in 2016, defeating restaurant owner Lil MacPherson.

Savage was the MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour for seven years until his defeat in the 2011 election.

In 2016, Savage put out a platform the month before the election. He anticipates he’ll follow the same course of action this time around.

“That’s the best way to campaign, is to govern well,” Savage said. “That’s what I intend to do.”

Whitman not fazed by Savage’s candidacy

Matt Whitman, the councillor Hammonds Plains-St. Margaret’s since 2012, announced his candidacy for mayor in front of a group of supporters on Oct. 30, 2019. He has been campaigning since his announcement.

Coun. Matt Whitman announces his candidacy for Halifax mayor in the 2020 municipal election on Oct. 30, 2019. Jeremy Keefe/Global News
Matt Whitman and family members at his campaign launch on March 1, 2020. Contributed: Matt Whitman

His decision to run leaves the district up for the taking in the 2020 election.

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READ MORE: ‘Halifax’s worst-kept secret’: Matt Whitman announces he’s running for mayor

In a phone interview with Global News on Wednesday, Whitman said he and Savage have mutual respect for each other and share several common values.

But Whitman feels they differ on spending.

“I’m the one that watches the dollars, I’m the one that votes against bad spending on bike lanes and the bike bridge ramp … so what we’re going to need is a mayor that watches the dollars,” said Whitman.

“Everything we do, we spend too much on, so I’m going to be less involved in photo-ops and more involved in keeping the tax rate low.”

Whitman adds that he found Savage’s announcement that he’s running for a third term as mayor “underwhelming.”

“I was surprised,” he said. “For a guy that would typically, I think, have way more fanfare for his announcement, this was very underwhelming.”

“But I’m not the one to give him campaign advice.”

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Savage, however, doesn’t want to draw comparisons between Whitman and himself at this time.

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“He’ll do his stuff and I’ll do mine,” he said. “But I’m excited about it. You get energized in this job by the people that you meet. If you didn’t get energized by the people, you couldn’t do the job.”

The final day for all nomination is Sept. 8. Halifax residents will go to the polls on Oct. 17.

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