Mayoral hopefuls Virginia Stone, Zane Novak and Jan Damery held a joint media conference at City Hall on Thursday to urge Calgarians to do their research ahead of Monday's election — and not to elect a current sitting council member.
Some recent polling has put candidates Jyoti Gondek and Jeromy Farkas in a dead heat heading into Monday's municipal election, but they've long had an edge.
A poll conducted exclusively for CBC Calgary toward the end of September had Gondek leading a crowded field at 40 per cent support among decided and leaning voters. Farkas was second with 32 per cent support, and Jeff Davison was third with 11 per cent support of those surveyed.
They're the only council incumbents running for mayor — and all three were first elected as ward councillors in 2017.
But on Thursday, Damery, Stone and Novak appealed for Calgarians to instead consider them or other candidates — outside of what some called a "divisive" council.
"Current city council has not been listening to the people," Damery said.
"This election is not about polarizing and making us divisive, which has been the track record of this existing council. None of these councillors deserve a promotion."
Name recognition and municipal politics
There are 27 candidates running for mayor in Calgary.
In her reporting for the CBC's early October poll, political commentator and pollster Janet Brown said that name recognition is "the most important currency in municipal politics."
While candidates seeking office at the federal or provincial level run under a political party banner — which Brown said provides a shorthand that helps voters understand what each candidate stands for — those running municipally have to develop their personal brand.
"The candidates who have previously served on Calgary city council have a clear advantage over other candidates as a result," Brown wrote.
On Thursday, Novak said he has been urged to drop out of the race to prevent vote splitting among the perceived front-runners.
But he won't, he said, because voters need to know they have a choice who will be their next mayor.
"Take the time this weekend, do your research, find the plot," Novak said.
"Don't vote for the lesser of two evils, unless you just want us to get more of what we already have."
Stone said most of the citizens she is speaking to are demanding change and have expressed frustration that the election is being depicted as a "two-horse race" with the "same old candidates."
"They do not represent change," Stone said. "And the citizens must know about these [other] platforms."
More than 140,000 Calgarians have already cast their votes in advance polls.
On election day, this coming Monday, polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
CBC Calgary is hosting a municipal election radio special Thursday night. It's a debate featuring the three mayoral candidates who are leading in the polls — Davison, Farkas and Gondek.