Denis Coderre was not expecting to lose to Valerie Plante on Sunday.
In doing so, he became the first mayor of Montreal since the 1950s to not win a second consecutive term of office.
Following his first term Jean Drapeau was defeated by Sarto Fournier in 1957, who in turn was defeated by Drapeau three years later.
Montreal's civic structure is arranged so that mayoral candidates can pick a running mate to run for a councillor position, and they can bump that individual should they lose.
Coderre announced Sunday that he would not displace Chantal Rossi from the seat she won in the Montreal North borough
In his concession speech, Coderre said that this campaign, his eleventh in politics, was a tough loss but that he was proud of what he had accomplished.
"Every city from all over the world was asking 'What about Montreal?' We achieved that kind of leadership in the last four years and I'm very, very proud of our people, I'm very proud of my team, and I'm not going to shy away from what we've accomplished in the last four years, that’s for sure" said Coderre.
Those accomplishments are many, including convincing the provincial government to give the city of Montreal more power over taxation.
Coderre said he will speak to the media on Wednesday, and he joked that he hoped the Formula E race would not come up, but that seems unlikely since the leak regarding the low number of ticket sales to the event contributed to Coderre's poor showing at the ballot box.
Along with Coderre's defeat came the defeat of several prominent members of his team, including borough mayors Anie Samson, Real Menard, and Russell Copeman.
Richard Bergeron, the founder of Projet Montreal who left the party to join Coderre's team several years ago, was also defeated in his bid to be re-elected as a city councillor.
Former politicians believe Montrealers were turned off by Coderre's style, and that Coderre didn't account for the difference in the number of strong candidates in this year's election.
"When he ran the first time he was running up against at least three other mayoralty candidates. When you're running up against only one it changes the dynamics completely and I don't think he got that," said Marlene Jennings.
Peter Trent, former mayor of Westmount, believes Montrealers are making snap decisions in changing candidates.
"Government by change. What we're seeing all over now is 'I don't like this person, I'll get someone else.' But what people need to understand is the city of Montreal is a big organization and making these kind of radical changes as opposed to evolutionary changes can really lead to some problems," said Trent.
"Denis Coderre did an awful lot and I hope that history gives him credit for what he achieved."
As to why Coderre lost, Trent believes that it is because voter turnout, at 42 per cent, was low.
"The people who are actually satisfied with Coderre, and there are a great number, they stayed home. It's the people who weren't who came out, and we all know that it politics it's the people who are upset, who don't like what's going on, who are motivated to vote," said Trent.
Jennings believes the vote against Coderre was reflected by a different viewpoint, especially since the three leading daily newspapers in Montreal endorsed Coderre.
"It tells us that we are no longer living in a patriarchal society where it's your parents who take you to vote and tell you who you're going to vote for," said Jennings.
Beyond Coderre's own loss, Projet Montreal made enough gains to shift power on city council – and now have a majority, with 34 of 65 seats.
“I think that the mayor, if he could do it again, would run a very different campaign,” said Saint-Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa, re-elected under Coderre’s banner.
The voters, DeSousa said, wanted change.
“We don't have the luxury of feeling sorry for ourselves. We do have the need to make sure that as we go forward we're doing it correctly,” he said.
Coderre said he wouldn't be speaking Monday but would hold a press conference Wednesday.
Coderre announced Sunday night that he would be leaving municipal politics.
“Chers amis,” he said. “Bonne chance, a la prochaine, vive Montreal!”