The race featured three main candidates: incumbent mayor Bob Chiarelli, former Kanata councillor Alex Munter and businessman Larry O'Brien. The race began as a fight between Chiarelli and Munter, with Munter getting the edge and 2003 candidate Terry Kilrea in a close third. However, in the summer O'Brien joined the campaign, prompting Kilrea to drop out and endorse Chiarelli. However, most of Kilrea's support went to O'Brien, creating a tight three-way race. Chiarelli's support then got pulled away from the right by O'Brien and to the left by Munter and was eventually depleted, and by the last weekend before the election, O'Brien had caught up to Munter and led for the first time. This lead carried through on election day.
In the end, Munter could only win his core areas in the central part of the city, plus his former home of Kanata, while O'Brien won the rest of the city—suburban areas and the rural areas (where he did especially well). Chiarelli did not win any wards, but he did finish second in Gloucester-South Nepean with 28%. This area of the city was where his O-Train proposal was going to be built.
The 2006 municipal election had one of the highest voter turn-out ratios in Ottawa's history, with 54%.
Robert Larter: Unknown candidate. The Ottawa Citizen reported his registered phone number was traceable to an apartment in Vanier, from where he moved away during the summer. The Citizen was unable to contact him.
Larry O'Brien: Chairman and former CEO of Calian Technologies Ltd., an Ottawa-based company that sells technology services to industry and government.
Barkley Pollock: Twenty-seven-year-old wants to look at the possibility of a municipal income tax to increase money for the poor. Campaigned for Liberal Richard Mahoney in Ottawa Centre in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections.
Jane Scharf: Local poverty activist. She has been arrested more than once including an arrest during the Homeless Action Strike on City Hall. All charges were dropped.
Don Rivington: A single-issue candidate who wants an ombudsman for the city. Ran for city council in the 2003 election in Bay Ward but lost. Dropped out of the Orléans Ward by-election in 2006.
?indicates statistic not stated/unknown —indicates candidate's name not included in polling question *indicates poll release date - actual polling date(s) unknown ^indicates percentage of decided voters only †2indicates percentage of votes for Piotr Anweiller, Robert Larter, Barkley Pollock and Jane Scharf †indicates percentage of votes for Piotr Anweiller, Barkley Pollock and Jane Scharf 1 Source: Ottawa Sun, 30 April 2005
May 2, 2006 - Pollock declares his intention to run for mayor. cfra.com
June 1, 2006 - Anweiler declares his intention to run for mayor. anweiler.ca
June 13, 2006 - Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans declares that she will not run for mayor and instead decided to run for re-election. (Ottawa Citizen, June 14)
July 26, 2006 - High-tech businessman Larry O'Brien announces his intention to run for the mayoralty as a "centrist candidate," planning to file his nomination papers within a few weeks. cbc.ca
August 8, 2006 - O'Brien fills out nomination papers.
August 30, 2006 - Kilrea drops out of the race.
September 12, 2006 - First mayoral debate
September 13, 2006 - Councillor Shawn Little drops out of his city council race
September 14, 2006 - Election signs can legally be put up.
September 28, 2006 - Robert Larter files his nomination papers.
September 29, 2006 - Nominations close.
October 10, 2006 - John Baird, president of the federal Treasury Board, announced that the 200M$ promised from the federal government for the O-Train project would not be given until the new elected council approves the project.
New ward boundaries were drawn for the 2006 election. Under the new plan, the size of city council will be increased by two members. The boundary commission made the following proposal that was adopted by city council: