Sam Katz will return as mayor of Winnipeg, according to unofficial election results, beating out Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

Unofficial results Wednesday night showed 116,308 votes, while Wasylycia-Leis had 90,913.

"I'm very humbled Winnipeggers wanted me back," said Katz.

Voter turnout was at about 47 per cent, up from 38 per cent in the last civic election, said officials.

In his victory speech, Katz thanked the Winnipeg Police Association and the United Firefighters. "I know it's been a long time since you did what you did, endorsing a candidate, and I can't tell you how proud I am that you chose me to be that candidate that you endorsed so that we can do what we can to make Winnipeg a safe city," he said.

Katz also thanked his family. "Daddy's coming home," he told his daughters. "You're going to see him in the morning and in the evening again. I know it's been a long time."

Katz thanked Wasylycia-Leis and other mayoral candidates Rav Gill and Brad Gross and said they motivated him. "It was a good race, it was well-fought," he said.

He offered congratulations to new councillors and welcomed back the incumbents who were re-elected. Katz also took a moment to remember some of the councillors who didn't run again, including Harry Lazarenko.

"Harry, I love you, take good care of yourself and continue your speedy recovery," Katz said.

Katz appeared near tears when he talking about missing former councilor Bill Clement, who passed away this spring.

Katz also thanked the citizens of Winnipeg.

"Thank you for believing in me," he said.

Katz told CTV's Laura Lowe his first task will be to pick an Executive Policy Committee. He will also hire the 58 new police officers he has promised to hire.

Asked if plans to run again in four years, Katz said "I just got elected half an hour ago, we'll talk tomorrow."

In her speech, Wasylycia-Leis thanked her supporters, telling them they have "shaken up the city."

"All you should feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment for the campaign we've run – an excellent campaign, a campaign of principles, a campaign of honesty, a campaign of integrity a campaign that was built from the ground up, supported by every walk of life, every political party, every organization, every citizen of this great city," she said. "I thank you all."

"Yes we came up short this evening," she continued. "We had hoped to take the message to change to city hall, but that message will have to wait just a little bit longer. But ours was a fight well fought."

Wasylycia-Leis told CTV's Susan Tymofichuk that her plans for the future are to be a community activist and volunteer in Winnipeg.