The “will he or won’t he” question has been answered.
On Monday morning, former city councillor and federal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi declared his intent to run for mayor, making him the 10th person to officially make a bid to replace Don Iveson, who is not seeking re-election.
“I am told it is the worst-kept secret in Edmonton,” Sohi said during his Facebook Live campaign launch Monday morning. He talked about the need to support the green economy, to battle homelessness and racial inequity, and to tackle the issues of substance abuse and the worsening mental-health crisis. And he spoke about his belief in Edmonton. “We are capable of making the impossible possible,” he said.
As Sohi had been the big wild card in the race, Edify has been including him in our mayoral polls. And our second online poll, which wrapped up at the end of the last week, indicated that he enters the race for mayor as the leader. Out of 835 respondents, Sohi has the support of 36 per cent of them. Former city councillor Kim Krushell is the only one in the field close to Sohi, at 30 per cent.
The next two closest candidates are former Innovate Edmonton head Cheryll Watson, with 13 per cent support, and Crestwood Community League President Diana Steele, at 11 per cent. At the moment, they would make up the “second division” of the race.
Six other candidates have yet to move the needle when it comes to Edify readers, including city councillor Mike Nickel (five per cent) and former city councillor Michael Oshry, who officially kicked off his campaign last week. He sits at three per cent support.
There is still a long way to go till Edmontonians go to the polls on October 18. But, with COVID restrictions limiting what campaigns can do — at least in the early stages of this race, with caps on public gathering and some real questions about whether candidates should be door-knocking right now — it is up to those in the mayoral field and their strategists to find inventive ways to sell themselves and their ideas to the public.