Mayoral candidate Bill Smith may not be finished with politics just yet.
Smith lost his battle with incumbent Naheed Nenshi Oct. 16, taking 169,367 votes to 199,122 for the victor.
But Smith, who had been the favourite according to some opinion polls, prior to the vote, told his supporters in his concession speech that he planned to think things over.
“I need to hang out with my wife and kids over the next little bit,” Smith told the crowd at his campaign headquarters at The Garage in Eau Claire Market.
Smith also said that now is the time for Calgarians to rally behind their mayor and continue pushing for what the city needs.
“They [voters] made their choice and it was a hard-fought battle,” Smith said.
“There were a lot of issues at stake and clearly Calgarians made their voices heard.”
He added that he believed his campaign had thoroughly discussed many different issues but suggested that voters may not have been “actually paying attention.”
“I thought we were pretty clear on what we were going to do,” Smith said.
The crowd at The Garage kept the faith, as the long evening wait for results went on.
“We need change,” Carolina Oxtoby, president, and CEO at Heritage Pointe Properties Inc., said early in the evening as the votes were just coming in.
Oxtoby said she felt Nenshi had stagnated in office and become complacent in his role as the leader of Calgary.
“The only relationship that should last more than two terms is a marriage,” she said.
“As the world changes, I believe that our political leaders need to change.”
That sentiment was echoed by Cal Wenzel, a well-known Calgary developer who chose to support Bill Smith after he met him personally.
“We met with him about three months ago, and I even had my wife sitting in on the interview because women are more perceptive of people, and when he walked away after an hour she said, ‘ I really like him,’” Wenzel said.
“I like him too, I think he’s a good honest individual and I think he will do a real good job,” said Wenzel, prior to the final results being posted.
“It’s not near the end of the night yet,” Derek Fildebrandt, MLA of Strathmore-Brooks, said about an hour before Smith acknowledged defeat.
“A couple of months ago people didn’t think it would be a very competitive race… the fact that it’s competitive says a lot, there’s a lot of people itching for change.
The only relationship that should last more than two terms is a marriage. –Carolina Oxtoby
“I want to see more fiscal responsibility on city council,” said Fildebrandt, who was dropped by the United Conservative Party last summer after questions arose about his MLA expenses.
“Calgary is the biggest city in Alberta. It’s one of the two major centres of the economy, culture and power in the province and what happens here matters everywhere in Alberta.”