PAB may­oral race goes down to the wire

John Spencer wins with a four-vote mar­gin

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSALYN ROY Rosalyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

It wasn’t ex­actly the Ken­tucky Derby, but hav­ing two pop­u­lar and highly re­spected can­di­dates vie for the Port aux Basques mayor’s seat still made for an ex­cit­ing fin­ish to a strong race.

As poll re­sults came in, the lead al­ter­nated be­tween John Spencer, a for­mer deputy mayor and ed­u­ca­tor, and for­mer mayor Brian But­ton.

Up un­til the last poll re­ported on elec­tion night Sept. 26, But­ton was in the lead by only nine votes, but once all votes were tal­lied Spencer won with 1,047 votes – only eight more than But­ton.

But­ton was gra­cious in de­feat but did said he would prob­a­bly re­quest a re­count.

“I will ask them just to check it, but it is what it is,” said But­ton on elec­tion night.

He said he knew it would be a tight race and he would throw his sup­port fully be­hind the new mayor and coun­cil. “We made it tough. I re­spect John to­tally.”

True to his word, But­ton did re­quest a re­count, which took place on Thurs­day, Sept. 28. While the mar­gin nar­rowed to only four votes, Spencer kept his vic­tory. The re­count to­tals were 1048 votes for Spencer, 1044 for But­ton.

“It was re­ally close. I pre­dicted it was go­ing to be close. I didn’t know it was go­ing to be that close,” said a ju­bi­lant John Spencer minutes af­ter the fi­nal tally on elec­tion night.

“In the end, it was fan­tas­tic. Peo­ple came out and we had a tight race.”

The ten­sion was high as the votes were be­ing counted

At one point Spencer danced to com­bat the ner­vous­ness.

Voter turnout was es­ti­mated to be just un­der 62 per cent, up about 30 per cent from the 2013 elec­tion, as more res­i­dents chose to make their voices heard.

Of the four can­di­dates seek­ing re- elec­tion, only Bruce Bur­ton failed to keep his seat.

Todd Strick­land, who chose not to seek a re­turn to the mayor’s chair, polled the strong­est of all 14 can­di­dates with 1,364 votes. New coun­cil­lor and for­mer town man­ager Melvin Keep­ing came in a close sec­ond at 1,301 votes.

The four re­main­ing seats went to Justin Black­ler (1,190), James K. Lane Sr. (1,147), Jerome Bat­tiste ( 1,054), and Ch­ester Cof­fin (876).

De­feated were Bruce Bur­ton (838), Todd An­der­son (743), Rick Far­rell (599), Cory Allen (417) and Bob Hinks (343). Of the three women seek­ing a coun­cil seat, Velda Pretty polled the strong­est with 551 votes, but was kept well out of the run­ning through­out. Tracey Lomond earned 332 votes and Sandra Spencer won the least votes of all can­di­dates with only 152 cast in her favour.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The new mayor of Port aux Basques is John Spencer, who de­feated ri­val Brian But­ton by only eight votes.

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