There are just two weeks left until Calgarians head to the polls again, this time to vote for a new mayor — and at least nine new faces will be elected to council.
There are 27 candidates vying for the soon-to-be-vacated mayoral seat, but two have emerged as the frontrunners according to recent polls.
A recent poll conducted by ThinkHQ showed councillors Jyoti Gondek and Jeromy Farkas leading the pack, with 25% of the respondents intending to vote for Gondek and 30% of respondents intending to vote for Farkas.
The online survey was conducted between Sept. 13 and 16, with 1,109 voting-aged Calgarians participating in the poll.
With two weeks left, what are their priorities?
With 28% of respondents undecided, for Gondek, engaging with those voters is the key to the election. Another poll earlier in the campaign demonstrated similar results.
“Polls are nice, but what’s important for a candidate is to stay focused on the fact that you need to get people out to their polling stations and voting. It’s encouraging to see strong polls, but I’m still working as hard as I ever have,” Gondek says.
“When it comes to undecided voters, probably the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re meeting with as many people as possible because undecided voters tend to turn to their friends and their social networks to say, ‘Who should I vote for?’”
For this reason, Gondek has made it her priority to continue connecting with Calgarians over the last stretch of the campaign.
Farkas says for him, these next two weeks are the time to keep his foot on the gas.
“Calgarians are looking for a change,” he says, adding he can feel the excitement building as the campaign enters the homestretch.
“It’s great to see a strong reception positively for our campaign so far. And we’re very excited about the 10-point plan for change that we released. It’s all about carrying on that momentum, and Calgarians are demanding change.”
There’s still time for this to turn into a three-horse race…
Political scientist expert Lori Williams says while it may appear to be a two-horse race, she thinks there is still a lot of time left for that to change.
“I think when we’ve got that many undecided voters, it is pretty tough to base much reliance on the polling,” she says, adding she is surprised some of the other mayoral candidates aren’t polling stronger, in particular Jeff Davison who is trailing at third with just 6%, according to the ThinkQ poll.
“We aren’t seeing any evidence of momentum.”
She thinks the race will start to tighten up over the next two weeks, however, she believes that some voters might see the poll numbers and think they only have two choices.
Williams believes the key to the undecided voters is getting their attention now that the federal election is over.
“I think people have started paying attention and people want to take a little bit of time to investigate.”
Voters are now able to cast a ballot in Calgary’s 2021 municipal election starting today as advance polls are open from now until Sunday, Oct. 10.
The city’s 37 advance polling stations will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. from Oct. 4 to Oct. 8., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10.
This year, there are 27 mayoral candidates and 104 candidates running in Calgary’s 14 wards.
For more information, including finding your designated voting station, visit Elections Canada.
Farkas vs. Gondek
Farkas and Gondek couldn’t be more different. Farkas comes from a notorious history on city council of voting “no” as a more conservative candidate and Gondek is the more progressive candidate who believes in investing in the city.
One key difference between these two is their approach to the pandemic. Farkas voted against having mandatory vaccines and mask mandates while Gondek believes these measures are needed to protect Calgarians.
FARKAS — “I believe I’m the only one who has a proven record of actually following through on my promises, not just when it’s been easy to do so but when it’s been pretty tough. Through thick and thin, I’ve been consistent. I’ve stood up consistently on behalf of my constituents and our team is not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to work as hard as we can.”
Farkas says he is hearing that Calgarians want change and he is the one to provide it with his “proven record.” Check out his platform here.
GONDEK — “I think the biggest thing that Calgarians are looking for is a sense of optimism and someone with a vision that includes them. It’s been incredibly rewarding to chat with people and discuss what our future looks like and how we get there together and have some conversations around how Calgary needs to own an identity that is specific to what we want to be.”
Gondek says the city is ready for a shift and believes the next elected council doesn’t have to “live and die” by ideology. Check out her platform here.
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