Nenshi savours win that wasn’t supposed to be

Naheed Nenshi wasn’t supposed to be giving a victory speech on election night, Oct. 16.

Nenshi, who was elected to his third consecutive term after challenger Bill Smith conceded defeat, had trailed badly going into the vote, according to some opinion polls.

But the incumbent took the contest 199,122 votes to 168,367 for Smith, after a hard-fought race that saw his opponent spend a significant amount in the bid to unseat him.

“Today we have confidently said as a community, confidently said as a people, that we will be bold, that we will move forward, and that we will do it together,” said Nenshi in his victory speech at his headquarters at The National on 10 Avenue N.W. in the Beltline.

“You have given me, once again, an extraordinary gift, and that gift is your trust,” Nenshi said, to loud cheers.

“I will never, ever let you down.”

“I can’t promise you I’ll be a different person and I’m not sure you want that, but I can promise you I’ll do my very best, put my pants on every day and go to work every single day for every one of you,” he said.

“Being your mayor is the best job in the world. This city is the best city in the world. And our best days are still ahead.”

The celebration was on at the National, from the time the first vote totals, showing Nenshi in the lead, came in.

Lynda Greuel, the party’s organizer, was thrilled with the results.

“I’m relieved, ecstatic,” said Greuel.

“Thrilled he gets to be our international ambassador. He has transformed Calgary into a modern city.”

Dozens of supporters of all ethnicities, ages, and sexes filled the halls with incessant chatter and optimism. It didn’t seem to matter that Smith had won a few polls before the election. Nenshi’s people were sure their candidate was going to win.

Johnny Tran, co-founder and COO of TikTiks, got his mother to vote in this municipal election.

“This time around my vote was up for grabs, but I didn’t hear one good reason for change,” said Tran.

“He’s got this reputation for having to be the smartest guy in the room, but isn’t that who you want to vote for?”

Tran had previously helped campaign for Nenshi, but was unable to this time due to a busy schedule.

Every time results appeared on screen the crowd would cheer. Nenshi started ahead of Smith and never looked back. When early news broke that Nenshi had won, the crowd started to chant his name.

The campaign was not easy, however, with Nenshi’s total percentage of the popular vote slipping to around 51 per cent, a far cry from the landslide victory he enjoyed in 2013, where he won with 73.6 per cent of the popular vote.

An abridged version of the speech delivered by Naheed Nenshi during the victory party Oct. 16 2017.

About Brandon Wilson 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Brandon Wilson worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.