Menard wins tight election despite OOE voters

By John Dance 

CAG chair Don Stephenson (left), Councillor-elect Shawn Menard and OOECA president Phyllis Odenbach Sutton chatted at the AGM social.

CAG chair Don Stephenson (left), Councillor-elect Shawn Menard and OOECA president Phyllis Odenbach Sutton chatted at the AGM social.

In Capital Ward, the most highly contested ward in Ottawa’s recent election, Shawn Menard narrowly triumphed over four others, including incumbent councillor David Chernushenko. However, had Old Ottawa East voters’ preference been shared by other Capital Ward communities, Chernushenko would have prevailed and returned for another term as Councillor.

In OOE, Chernushenko took 31 percent of the vote compared to Menard’s 29 percent. But, overall, Menard was the winner with 28 percent of the vote compared to second place Christine McAllister with 25 percent, Chernushenko with 23 percent, Anthony Carricato with 19 percent and Jidé Afolabi with the balance.

Chernushenko’s success in Old Ottawa East may have been related to the fact that two of his major accomplishments – Main Street’s transformation into a complete street and the Flora Footbridge – addressed longstanding desires of many community members.

Menard won the most votes in Old Ottawa South and overwhelmingly won the advance poll at Carleton University, with 304 of the total 362 votes. Chernushenko took only 8 votes there, McAllister 14, Afolabi 15 and Carricato 21.

Menard vigorously campaigned at Carleton and has a number of significant links to the university, including his role as past president of the Carleton University Alumni Association for the National Capital Region.

McAllister dominated in the Glebe, where she had been president of the Glebe Community Association. She took 36 percent of the votes at the major Glebe polling stations and Anthony Carricato – a former vice president of GCA – was next at 21 percent. However, Carricato was the victor in Heron Park, winning 34 percent of the vote to Menard’s 28 percent, McAllister’s 16 percent and Chernushenko’s 15 percent.

A number of building-specific polling stations such as Billings Lodge, a “retirement community” in Heron Park, showed voting patterns substantially different than the overall shares. At Billings Lodge, Carricato won 22 (48 percent) of the 46 votes. Jim Watson easily retained the mayoral seat with 71 percent of the vote compared to second-place finisher Clive Doucet at 22 percent. But Doucet did much better in Old Ottawa East, winning 40 percent of the votes compared to Watson’s 59 percent.

Voter turnout for the entire city was 43 percent of eligible voters while voter turnout for Capital Ward was the highest in the city at 52 per cent, with 12,834 residents participating. In the previous election voter participation in Capital Ward was just 39 percent. Over the last four years – despite considerable in-fill and new developments in Capital Ward – the number of eligible voters declined by 358, about 1.4 percent. The reasons for this decline are not currently known.

Capital Ward candidates were gracious in both victory and defeat. Immediately after the election Menard wrote, “My colleagues who ran campaigns alongside our team were of such a high calibre. I would like to thank them for their engagement and contribution to civic life in our ward. In particular, I’d like to thank David Chernushenko for his eight years of service to our communities.”

“It was so much fun to put myself out there and give it my all,” Carricato told The Mainstreeter. “With your support, I am even more motivated to continue working hard for our community. This is only the beginning!”

“It truly was an honour to run,” Afolabi commented to The Mainstreeter.

“I will stay engaged and involved and look forward to continuing to advocate for a different kind of Ottawa – a city that can proudly claim its place as a pacesetter on the environment, on innovation, and on social justice.”

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