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Mike Nickel fails to win Edmonton mayoral race as opponents say ‘stop with the polarization’

Click to play video: 'Nickel’s mayoral campaign draws criticism from opponents' Nickel’s mayoral campaign draws criticism from opponents
WATCH: This Edmonton election campaign was one of the most polarizing in recent memory, with Mike Nickel finishing in second place with nearly 60,000 votes. Nickel's campaign has drawn sharp criticism from his political opponents, and he never wavered from his strategy, right to the very end. Tom Vernon has that story. – Oct 19, 2021

After months of campaigning, former city councillor Mike Nickel came up short in his bid to replace Don Iveson as mayor of Edmonton.

Nickel finished second to Amarjeet Sohi, earning nearly 60,000 votes, finishing with 25 per cent support.

Read more: Edmonton election 2021: Amarjeet Sohi elected mayor

“This campaign was about freedom and opportunity for the ordinary Edmontonian,” Nickel said in his concession speech Monday night.

Nickel ran on policies like cutting taxes, ending photo radar and increasing police presence downtown, but he also employed strategies that angered other candidates, from personal attacks to giving voice to unfounded accusations. Even during his concession speech, Nickel’s tone remained.

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Read more: Edmonton election results coverage

“The voices of thousands who have spoken to the return of the status quo, I’ve got to be honest: you’re in for some tough times ahead, some very tough times ahead,” Nickel said.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton mayoral candidate Mike Nickel speaks to supporters' Edmonton mayoral candidate Mike Nickel speaks to supporters
Edmonton mayoral candidate Mike Nickel speaks to supporters – Oct 18, 2021

Some of Nickel’s political opponents and former council colleagues weren’t disappointed to see him lose.

Read more: Mayor-elect Amarjeet Sohi welcomed back to Edmonton City Hall: ‘I’m absolutely excited’

“(I want to) thank Edmontonians for rejecting the politics of fear and anger and division, and embracing hope and a continued progressive vision for this city,” outgoing Mayor Don Iveson said, while appearing with Mayor-elect Sohi.

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Click to play video: 'Don Iveson welcomes Amarjeet Sohi back to Edmonton City Hall' Don Iveson welcomes Amarjeet Sohi back to Edmonton City Hall
Don Iveson welcomes Amarjeet Sohi back to Edmonton City Hall – Oct 19, 2021

On election night, third place finisher Kim Krushell echoed those sentiments.

“For those that are continuing to want to be divisive, maybe this is a lesson learned that that’s not the way to go,” Krushell said after delivering her concession speech.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton mayoral candidate Kim Krushell concedes race' Edmonton mayoral candidate Kim Krushell concedes race
Edmonton mayoral candidate Kim Krushell concedes race – Oct 18, 2021

Candidates linked with Nickel also struggled at the ballot box. Nickel endorsed six candidates for council, including incumbents Tony Caterina in Ward O-day’min and Jon Dziadyk in tastawiyiniwak. None of the six candidates ended up winning.

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Read more: Edmonton mayoral candidate giving and receiving endorsements from other candidates

Political analyst Katherine O’Neill says politicians of all stripes and at all levels need to take notice of what happened.

“I think the message was loud and clear,” O’Neill told Global News.

“People want folks to work together, they want to put politics aside and they want to do good things for this province.”

Click to play video: 'Concerns raised about partisan politics creeping into Edmonton election' Concerns raised about partisan politics creeping into Edmonton election
Concerns raised about partisan politics creeping into Edmonton election – Sep 28, 2021

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