The three newcomers to council scored the highest in the polls, although incumbent Laura Aylward (973) came in at just seven votes less than the lowest of those three, Maurice Hynes with 980. Susan Fowlow came in top with 1,279 and Mark Felix second at 1,183.
With 938, incumbent Mike Tobin and with 910, incumbent Don Gibbon Sr. secured their seats and even then Gibbon was 187 votes above the nearest contender of the 13 other candidates that didn’t manage to get seats.
Despite some rumors in the town prior to the election that people were fed up with the incumbents, the electorate still gave them a vote of confidence by putting them back in with fairly solid numbers. The fact that they didn’t poll as well as the three newcomers means little when they put their behinds in seats around the council table, where everyone has an equal say.
The upset of election night was Tom Rose beating out incumbent Tom O’Brien in the mayoral race by 168 votes. There was a look of disbelief on many faces as the numbers came in and Rose was getting more votes than O’Brien in many of the polls.
That’s because Rose has run for the mayor’s position a total of five times and up to that point wasn’t able to get the seat, despite coming close in the 2013 election when he lost by 78 votes, which was really decided in the last few polls that came in.
Despite a lead of 118 with all polls in, except the advanced poll, Rose had a stressed look on his face not knowing what way the community at large might have voted. When that poll finally came in he won that one too, putting an end to O’Brien’s six terms on council with a number of them as mayor.
While Rose has no experience as a mayor, he did have a term and a half in office as a councillor with a four-year term previous and nearly two years after he won a by-election late in 2015 when John Finn became an MHA and resigned his councillor position.
The onus is now on Rose to prove that he has leadership capabilities and with three experienced incumbents and three knowledgeable people in the newcomers when it comes to the community, it should be a strong council with great representation.