Winnipeg’s mayoral race kicks off with three candidates

The race to become Winnipeg’s next mayor is officially on, with three candidates starting their campaigns.

Sunday morning was the first opportunity for candidates to register with the city clerk’s office, with Jenny Motkaluk the first person to show up.

“I think what Winnipeggers want is an opportunity to tell me or somebody like me about what they think we can do to improve the city about the things that we can do to encourage growth and investment,” said Motkaluk.

Motkaluk, a business consultant, ran in the last municipal election in 2018, gathering 36 percent of the vote and coming second to current Mayor Brian Bowman.

“Last time around, we put a lot of time into talking about politics,” she said. “I’m proud of the work we did, but I think we had too much of a focus on that and not enough of a focus on giving Winnipeggers an opportunity to get to know who I am.”

Unlike in 2018, Motkaluk and other candidates will have a wide-open field as incumbent Mayor Brian Bowman isn’t seeking reelection.

“I think we need to build on and improve some of the positive work that’s happened at city hall over the past eight years, and I’m excited by the prospect of hearing from candidates both for mayor but also for members of council on how they continue to build Winnipeg for the future and create a city in which we can all be proud to call home,” said Bowman at a news conference on Thursday when asked about the election.

With Bowman not running, University of Manitoba political studies professor Royce Koop expects there to be a long ballot on Oct. 26.

According to Koop, open races tend to yield more candidates, making name recognition very important.

“Voters don’t always have as much to work with, and so what does make a difference is name recognition. So if you’re an incumbent, that’s a big advantage, but also if you’ve got some name recognition if you’ re a councilor, provincial politician, even if you’re some kind of local celebrity,” Koop explained.

Two other Winnipeggers also put their name in the Sunday morning race — Don Woodstock and Chris Clacio.

Woodstock, a businessman in the security industry, ran for mayor in the previous election.

This time around, he’s running a “clean sweep” campaign targeting current council members, claiming they’ve committed construction fraud.

“Any city councilor who has supported or participated in the corrupt [executive policy committee] model that we have today shouldn’t be re-elected,” said Woodstock.

Chris Clacio, who ran in the last election but didn’t make it to the ballot, is also trying another run for mayor.

“I just want to see the city be more practical and more optimistic because it seems like all the candidates on social media just seemed very uninspiring for many citizens,” he said.

Clacio said he’ll be focusing on the city’s public engagement and growing tech sector.

With the deadline to sign up still months away in September, the list of greater hopefuls is sure to grow.

City councilors John Orlikow and Scott Gillingham, along with businessman Shaun Loney have also declared their intention to run but did not sign up on Sunday.

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