If Naheed Nenshi runs for mayor in next year’s civic election, he won’t be opposed by his main opponent on city council.
Ward 10 alderman Andre Chabot says he will run for mayor of Calgary only if Nenshi steps down.
“I will not run for second place,” Chabot said in a recent interview.
But if Nenshi surprises everyone at city hall and decides to return to private life after one term, Chabot’s hat will likely be in the ring.
“If Mayor Nenshi were to step down, then I would run for mayor, absolutely,” Chabot said.
“But at this point and time, I don’t see the possibility that I could succeed against this mayor.”
So far, Nenshi has been playing coy with the media about his intentions to run for a second term.
He has regularly dismissed speculation on his political plans, saying that he just wants to do his best in the current term and not focus on re-election.
But he did drop a hint in an interview with CBC Radio’s Eye-opener show last month that he might have more to say about his future later this year.
Over the past 30 years, history has shown that incumbent mayors in Calgary usually breeze to victory in their second terms. This was true for mayors Ralph Klein, Al Duerr and Dave Bronconnier.
The last incumbent mayor to lose his bid for re-election was Ross Alger, who was knocked of by Klein in 1980.
Chabot said that he has been quite happy serving on the city council but he is convinced he has a great deal to offer Calgarians.
“I think I’m ready to take on the responsibility and the role (of mayor). I think I have enough of an understanding of the inner workings of the city that I’m prepared to take on that responsibility, but only if I think I have a chance of success.
“There are certainly some ideas that I have and I think I have become quite in-tune with the needs of Calgarians. I could provide some leadership in guiding council to make those decisions that would ultimately help (the city),” he said.
He also expressed an admiration for the achievements of former Calgary mayor, Dave Bronconnier; specifically how much of an impact he had on the city’s transportation infrastructure.
“There seems to be a lot of traffic congestion here (in Calgary), and I would see us doing an about-face and going back to investing in infrastructure,” he said.
“History will demonstrate that (Bronconnier) was one of the most successful mayors as far as what he achieved during his tenure for Calgary, and its infrastructure.”
Chabot believes that Calgary’s ultimate image to the world should be, “a welcoming city that encourages businesses to move here, to stay here and to prosper here.
“We will accept any and all kinds of people from all walks of life, and we will help them to become successful in this community.”