10.22.2013

Strathcona Votes: Wrap-up

Wow – that was a nail-biter.

After weeks of a thrilling, hard-fought battle, perhaps it was fitting that the race for mayor came down to the last poll.  Many area residents watched and anxiously waited for the final numbers to appear, enthralled by an all-night back-and-forth duel.

Pulling ahead in the final few polls, Roxanne Carr defeated one-term incumbent Linda Osinchuk to become Strathcona County Mayor-elect.

Many on all sides will be putting forth theories as to the reason for the outcome.  Was it the issues?  Policies?  Campaign strategy? Bad press? 

Whispers of blame are already being heard.  Even I have already been credited – and blamed – for having an influence in the race. (I put my actual ‘influence’ between zero and far less than some people believe.)

My take doesn’t go into the area of conspiracy theory.  Quite simply, Carr’s message better resonated with the voters.  Her team ran an effective campaign that focused on the message and avoided the muck, even when Roxanne herself became the target of some questionable tactics.

Unseating an incumbent is never easy and always requires determination, commitment, and a platform more appealing than the incumbent’s. Roxanne Carr had all that.

Man, what a battle.

In other races around the County:

Including my endorsement of Roxanne Carr, I ended up 3/5 in predictions.  While my favorites Ben Proulx (Ward 1) and Ryan Osterberg (Ward 2) ended up short in the vote count, top pick Carla Howatt took Ward 4 in a landslide.  Keep an eye on Carla – she will be a huge benefit not only for her Ward but for the entire County.  She is a political star on the rise.

In what was perhaps the closest watched race outside of the mayoral battle, challenger Fiona Beland-Quest defeated incumbent Jason Gariepy in another landslide over in Ward 8.  Gariepy, who achieved buzz for personal issues that he himself helped to publicize, failed in his name-recognition strategy (shock!).

It shouldn’t be overlooked that Beland-Quest is a more-than-worthy councillor-elect, and the results of this vote shouldn’t be quickly dismissed as a firing of a sitting councillor who tarnished his own image – although that played an obvious part.

The Strathcona election campaign saw tabloid-worthy sex scandals, threats of lawsuits, attempted media manipulation, and on and on.

In the end, Strathcona County voters had their say and elected a good mix of veterans and new faces to Council.  Good luck to all.  I look forward to seeing the vision of the new Mayor and Council in action.

I’ll be watching.

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