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Field, Davison tee off on Farkas open letter urging strategic voting in Calgary election

Two Calgary mayoral candidates are firing back after a letter from the Jeromy Farkas campaign urged their supporters not to split the upcoming vote.

Brad Field and Jeff Davison both took issue with a Farkas for Mayor plea to their supporters, which talked about the dead heat between him and fellow contender, Jyoti Gondek.

Recent polls have shown both Gondek and Farkas are polling ahead of the rest of the pack of contenders.  On Thursday, three other candidates pleaded with Calgary voters to look at other options aside from Davison, Gondek and Farkas.

The Farkas letter urged Davison and Field supporters not to split the vote.

“I am asking you to consider the stakes and vote strategically,” the open letter read.

“I understand that I may not be your first choice, but I want to learn from you, improve my approach and ensure success for every Calgarian.”

Field said the request showed a lack of leadership and integrity. He said it showed desperation from Farkas, by trying to sway voters with a “crisis narrative.”

“It exposes another of the countless reasons Calgarians are looking for a fresh start with a leader from outside the current council who will honour diverse views and bring collaboration and respect back to City Hall,” read a statement from the Field campaign.

“While I am flattered other candidates see my platform of citizen empowerment as a threat, I know the strong bonds I have made with my growing list of supporters will not be broken by such tactics.”

‘No conceivable way’: Davison

Davison’s response encouraged Calgarians to vote for the candidate that best matched their priorities and values.

The outgoing Ward 6 candidate has been on the offensive against Farkas in the last weeks of the campaign, with several barbs hurled toward his opponent in recent debates. The latest was during a CBC debate where Davison suggested that Farkas was being funded by third-party advertisers and that it would eventually come out.

Farkas and other conservative-minded candidates have criticized other candidates that have been endorsed by the union-funded third-party advertiser, Calgary’s Future.

Davison’s response to the Farkas open letter also questioned his leadership.

“Calgarians have seen what they get from Farkas and they don’t like it,” read a statement from his campaign.

“This outrageous suggestion by Farkas is a bizarrely undemocratic tactic and clearly not the kind of leadership Calgarians are looking for from a mayor.”

Davison asked Calgarians not to be manipulated by sponsored polls or media spin.

“It also won’t work as there is no conceivable way my supporters would ever switch to Farkas,” he said.

“Farkas has lost credibility.”

Calgary votes on Oct. 18.