It was a vote that kept the entire city on the edge of their seats all night, and now former city councillor Scott Gillingham will be the city's new mayor.

Glen Murray had an early lead as results began coming in, however, once just over half the polls reported Gillingham took a small lead and never looked back.

Before moving to politics Gillingham was a Pentecostal pastor in the city. Over the last eight years that he has been in city politics he has served as chair of the finance committee for six years, and also served on the police board.

"Holy smoke! What a night, what a night," the mayor elect said as he took to a podium to make his victory speech. Gillingham thanked his supporters but was quick to congratulate and thank his opponents as well.

Gillingham will become the City of Winnipeg's forty-fourth mayor.

"It will be my high honour to serve and to govern and to lead this city," Gillingham told cheering supporters.

"It will be my goal to make every effort through the coming months and years of this term to unite Winnipeg together so we can build a stronger, brighter city."

In a previous interview with Golden West, Gillingham said he decided to run for mayor because, "Right now, I believe I have the right combination of the current experience on council to know what we do well at the City of Winnipeg, what we need to do differently to make Winnipeg stronger, and then what we need to do to seize the opportunities that will make our city healthier and grow our city for the future."

He ran on a campaign that included hiking property taxes, which he said would help fund road repair, provide housing for the homeless and improve front-line services.

Gillingham ended up with 53,663 votes, with Murray next at 49,272 votes. Rounding out the top five results, Kevin Klein
received 28,806 votes; Shaun Loney received 28,567 votes; and Robert-Falcon Ouellette received 15,029 votes.

A total of 11 people were running to replace the outgoing Brian Bowman. He had served two full terms, but announced two years ago that he would not be running for reelection. 

Murray arrived in Winnipeg in the spring to begin his campaign. He consistently showed a large lead in all the polls ahead of the election. He had originally served from 1998-2004 as the city's forty-first mayor. In his concession speech, Murray congratulated Gillingham and the other candidates and said he is committed to making Winnipeg a better city.

"We have more than enough people and more than enough power in this room to change the future course of the city," he said.

"And while we may not be doing it in exactly in the way that we had planned, that mission is no less important."


With files from Steve Lambert at the Canadian Press