|Courtesy of Guelph Mercury|
For the next four years it's going to be a Cam, Cam, Cam, Cam World here in Guelph as the one-term Ward 4 Councillor now steps up into the role of mayor after defeating incumbent Karen Farbridge in yesterday's municipal election. With nearly 39,000 ballots cast, or 45 per cent of the electorate, Guthrie took an early lead with online voters and stayed out front till the moment all polls were tabulated. Guthrie will now be joined by as many as five incumbent councillors and seven rookie (or in some cases rookie-ish) politicians around the horseshoe to helm the Royal City for the next four years.
Ultimately Guthrie secured 50.76 per cent of the vote with 19,670 ballots cast for him. Farbridge, meanwhile, was a distant second with 36.56 per cent, or 14,170 votes. The number of votes Farbridge received didn't change much between here 2010 and 2014 totals as 14,902 votes, or 54.11 per cent, were cast for Farbridge in the previous election, suggesting that the higher voter turnout last night worked to Guthrie's favour.
If we go even further back, Farbridge's historic high in terms of vote count was her 2006 victory over Kate Quarrie in which she collected 17,689, or nearly 51 per cent of the vote. Statistically, Farbridge's defeat in 2014 was inline with her 2003 loss to Quarrie, which came down to a 40.5 per cent and 53.2 per cent split between the incumbent and her challenger respectively. All-in-all, it does suggest that Guthrie had wide-spread support across the city, while Farbridge had trouble growing beyond her base.
As for the rest of the mayoral candidates, Jason Blokhuis had the best showing with nearly 4,000 votes and 10.3 per cent. Andrew Donovan, John Legere and Joseph St. Denis ran fairly close with 296, 269, and 250 votes respectively, while Nicholas Ross finished in the seventh place with 112 votes.
In Ward 1, the message of not being ignored seemed to resonate with voters there as now first-term councillor Dan Gibson walked to victory with 28.03 per cent of the vote. With the higher voter turnout and about half as many candidates, Gibson nearly doubled the total number of votes Bob Bell received in 2010 for his first place finish. Speaking of Bell, Ward 1's remaining incumbent in the race retained his council seat with nearly 24.5 per cent or 2,984 ballots cast for him. Bell won nearly 1,200 more votes last night over the same time in 2010.
Rounding out the Ward 1 race, Karolyne Pickett also saw her voter share go up over 2010, but not enough to see her ascended to either first or second place. She got 22.2 per cent of the vote, enough to secure third place which is up one spot from her 2010 campaign. Rookie politicians Terry O'Connor and Maria Pezzano round out the Ward 1 race with nearly 14 per cent and 11.4 per cent of the votes respectively.
It was a similar story north in Ward 2 where incumbent Andy Van Hellemond secured an easy victory with 3,266 votes and 27.5 per cent. In terms of percentage, Van Hellemond was down a point and half, but like everyone in the race, the actual number of votes he received was up from 2010 by over 700. Joining Van Hellemond in representing Ward 2 is crooner James Gordon, who now has an election win after two unsuccessful provincial bids. Gordon received 2,990 votes or 25.17 per cent. Former city councillor Ray Ferraro finished third once again, but failed to increase his share of the vote in any sizable way finishing the 2014 race with 22 per cent versus 21.2 per cent in 2010. Martin Collier placed fourth with 11.06 per cent, while Sian Matwey and Chris Keleher Sr. placed fifth and sixth with 9.3 and 4.9 per cent respectively.
Ward 3 was the race to watch last night, and a sudden last minute twist when the final polls reported leaves a big question mark over the second seat in Guelph's central district. Former educator and pundit Phil Allt will definitely be joining the new council with nearly 2,300 votes or 22.4 per cent. For a while last night it looked like Craig Chamberlain, after three hard fought campaigns, was going to take the second chair, but incumbent June Hofland had a sudden surge when the last three polls were counted. Ultimately, two votes separated Hofland and Chamberlain 2047 to 2045. A recount will have to determine which of the two candidate will join Allt in representing Ward 3 on council.
The other story in Ward 3 is the sound defeat of Maggie Laidlaw, who will no longer be a city councillor after 14 years. Laidlaw finished in fourth place with 18.13 per cent of the vote or 1,860 total votes, her worst showing since 2003, an election in which she was still able to win a seat. Laidlaw's campaign was controversial from the get-go announcing her intention to step down from her council seat last summer, only to suddenly declare that she was running again a few months later. Laidlaw was also one of Farbridge's most staunchest allies on council, but with strong competition in this election from Allt, and perhaps some "Maggie fatigue" her support just wasn't as strong in this election.
Bob Moore and Jason Dodge rounded out the Ward 3 slate with 11.02 and 8.6 per cent finishes.
Ward 4 gave voters the most options, but it was a pair of former councillors that won the night in the west end. Christine Billings is now officially transplanted from Ward 6 to Ward 4, coming in first with 24.68 per cent or 2,300 votes, that's close to Billings' last result in 2006 where she came in second place in Ward 6 with 26.4 per cent and 2,438 votes. The other new Ward 4 councillor is an old one, Mike Salisbury. Salisbury won 23.57 per cent, or 2,197 votes, which is up significantly from his fourth place 2010 finish of 16 per cent and nearly 1,200 votes, and better still than his second place victory in 2006 which did garner 26 per cent of the vote, but only came out to 1,999 actual votes.
It was a close race for third place with teacher Laurie Garbutt earning 1,061 votes and 11.4 per cent, and former-Guelph Mercury reporter Scott Tracey garnering 992 votes and 10.6 per cent. Former Ward 2 councillor Gary Walton came in fifth with 760 votes and 8.2 per cent, as Greg Roffey, Greg Schirk, and Rob Dunn-Dufault ran tightly with 6.65 per cent, 6.52 per cent, and 6 per cent of the vote respectively. Mark Briestensky finished in ninth and final place with 2.40 per cent and 224 votes.
Things washed out a little more simply in Ward 5. Leanne Piper walked to victory for her third straight term, garnering 28.4 per cent of the vote and 3,386 votes. It was about a thousand votes short of her all time high in 2006 when she got 4,339 votes for 36.9 per cent of the vote, but on par with her 2010 win of 3,451, which in 2010 against only two competitors was 39.6 per cent.
Speaking of returns, Cathy Downer retakes the place on council she vacated in 2006 with 23.5 per cent or 2,795 votes. That's a thousand votes better than her last election victory in 2003, but with nearly the same vote share, 23.5 per cent over 25.25 per cent in '03. Scott R. Butler gave Downer some stiff competition with a 19.46 per cent showing or 2,316 votes, but former PC candidate Bob Senechal struggled in fourth with 13.43 per cent or nearly 1,600 votes. Dimitrios "Jim" Galatianos improved his fortunes from his Ward 3 run in 2010, winning nearly 9 per cent or 1,049 votes, up from 6.4 per cent or 498 votes in 2010. Alex Green rounded out Ward 5 with a 6.38 per cent showing or 759 votes.
In the city's southern most ward, it was a Cinderella story for first-time candidate Mark MacKinnon, who won handily with nearly 33.5 per cent and just over 3,800 votes. Incumbent Karl Wettstein meanwhile will stay on council after garnering nearly the same level of support last night that he did in 2010. Wettstein secured 2,886 votes, or 25.4 per cent, which is in line with his 2010 win of 2,719, and accounted for 37.22 per cent of the vote four years ago.
Stiffer competition in Ward 6 shut out incumbent Todd Dennis, who collected barely 18 per cent of the vote or 2,044 votes, down from 36.33 per cent or 2,654 votes from his 2010 win. It was hard fought third place win for Dennis, who squeaked out Glen Tolhurst who garnered 17.3 per cent, or 1,968 votes. And sadly
Keith Poore, who had a notable campaign of engagement and was the only student in the race, garnered only 671 votes, or 5.9 per cent.
As for the trustee races, incumbent Mark Bailey was easily re-elected in Ward 1 and 5 with 4,517 votes or 30.84 per cent. He will be joined by Martha MacNeil who came in second with 2,919 votes for nearly 20 per cent of the vote. Bailey's former ward-mate Linda Busuttil will now represent Ward 2,3 and 4 on the Upper Grand District School Board having secured 25.26 per cent or 4,974 votes. Busuttil will join the re-elected Susan Moziar who will return to the UGDSB with just over 5,000 votes, or 25.5 per cent. Marty Fairbairn was also re-elected and he will continue to represent Ward 6 and Puslinch thanks to 2,611 votes or 64 per cent support. As for the Wellington District Catholic School Board, Marino L. Gazzola, Victoria Dupuis, Sebastian Dal Bo will return along with new trustee Joe Tersigni
The new council will be sworn in to start a new term sometime in December.