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Crouse wins in landslide

By: Cory Hare

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010 06:00 am

Nolan Crouse and his wife Gwen celebrate with friends and volunteers at the St. Albert Inn & Suites on Monday night after the election results were announced. Crouse was re-elected to a second term as mayor by more than a two-to-one margin over challenger Shelley Biermanski.
Nolan Crouse and his wife Gwen celebrate with friends and volunteers at the St. Albert Inn & Suites on Monday night after the election results were announced. Crouse was re-elected to a second term as mayor by more than a two-to-one margin over challenger Shelley Biermanski.
April Bartlett/St. Albert Gazette

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Incumbent Mayor Nolan Crouse swept to victory Monday evening, capturing a second term with double the number of votes earned by his lone challenger, political newcomer Shelley Biermanski.

Crouse captured 10,778 votes to Biermanski’s 4,955 in Monday’s vote. Crouse earned nearly 68 per cent of the vote to Biermanski’s 32. The divide was clear from the first set of results and continued as numbers poured in from all 25 polling machines.

Crouse was happy in victory but said there was a message in the fact that nearly 5,000 people felt he wasn’t doing a good job, coupled with a shift toward newcomers on council.

“That’s a significant message and I think we’re going to have our work cut out for us to make sure that we serve the citizens with what they want to do,” he said.

Biermanski, an unknown with no political experience, jumped into the race in late July to challenge the unopposed Crouse. She described her 4,900 votes as “great numbers” that were in the range she was expecting.

“I’m not happy, of course,” she said. “I just wish it could have been somebody stronger who could have knocked Crouse out.”

Much of Biermanski’s message during the campaign was that Crouse and the entire council weren’t listening to residents, particularly with their decisions on the Arlington Drive affordable housing project and the downtown area redevelopment plan.

She said she was happy to have run and glad she made Crouse work for his victory.

“It brought to [light] to the mayor that he wasn’t doing quite the perfect job he thought he was doing,” she said.

Biermanski added that too much of the old council was still left and was concerned that only 34 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

“I think that more people have got to get involved in politics,” she said.

Crouse in his victory speech said the new council will have to deal with a number of difficult issues like the downtown, taxes and spending.

“Those divisive issues we’ll have to deal with another day,” he said. “Tomorrow I’ll be back to work early.”

He also acknowledged the contributions of all the candidates who ran.

“To those who ran and were not elected … school board trustees as well as councillors … and Shelley Biermanski, thank you for providing your name and your energy and your vision to the city. Without that, democracy is failing,” Crouse said.

In a later interview, Crouse said Biermanski forced him to sharpen his campaign.

“It forced us to talk about the issues and that was important,” he said.


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