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.
“This campaign was about freedom and opportunity for the ordinary Edmontonian,” Nickel said in his concession speech Monday night.
“This campaign gave voice to change.”
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.
“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.
Some of Nickel’s political opponents and former council colleagues weren’t disappointed to see him lose.
“(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.
On election night, third place finisher Kim Krushell echoed those sentiments.
“I think we need to stop with the polarization.”
“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.
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.
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.”