People wanted change this election, and they got it in a record-breaking capacity. A nearly total shuffle saw only 3 incumbents stay in their former seats, and for the first time ever, half of council (5 of 11) are women.
To put that last fact in context, in the last 100 years, only 7 women had served on council: Frances Innis, Shannie Duff, Dorothy Wyatt, Marie White, Wendy Williams, Debbie Hanlon, and Sheilagh O’Leary. Now there are 5 women on this 1 council. Julia Salter Earle and Fannie McNeil, the first women to run (unsuccessfully in 1925), are fist-pumping in their graves.
One of those women, Hope Jamieson of Ward 2, pulled the only ousting of a ward incumbent (Jonathan Galgay). A rare feat in this better-the-devil-you-know city. Wally Collins is the only ward councillor to stay sitting in his former seat (Ward 5).
Two other ward councillors climbed up the ladder to the leadership positions of mayor (Danny Breen, from Ward 1) and Deputy Mayor (Sheilagh O’Leary, Ward 4). So we’re looking at a fresh council led by experienced, civil leaders. 5 of 11 people are returning in some capacity, while 5 are fresh blood, and 1, Debbie Hanlon, has been a councillor in the past.
There is also a broader range of ages and background than is the norm, so a broader representation of the people of St. John’s. We have small business owners, corporate types, farmers, artists, young parents through to retirees, and some very engaged citizens who contribute much to our city across various disciplines (4 of whom are engaged enough to have written about pertinent city issues for The Overcast. Shout out to former contributors Sheilagh O’Leary, Dave Lane, Hope Jamieson, and Maggie Burton).
Such a variety of passions, perspectives, and platforms is very good for well-formed consensus and solid representation of the electorate. The mayor agrees, and looks forward to mentoring those new to municipal politics.
But for all the talk of politics leading up to the election, including plenty of discontent over the outgoing council, only 56.7% of eligible voters submitted a ballot in this election. Only 38,090 of 67,894 eligible voters cast a vote for mayor. Ward 1 had the strongest voter engagement at 59.3% of eligible voters, and Ward 4 had the lowest at 49.7%.
Mayor: Danny Breen
Replacing Dennis O’Keefe, who did not re-run; Danny received 20,261 of 38,090 votes (53,2% of votes across 3 candidates).
Deputy Mayor: Sheilagh O’Leary
Replacing Ron Ellsworth, who unsuccessfully ran instead for Councillor at Large; Sheilagh received 30,689 of 36,442 votes (84.2% across 2 candidates)
Ward 1 Councillor: Deanne Stapleton
Replacing Danny Breen who successfully ran for mayor; Deanne received of 3,715 of 8,167 votes (45.5% across 3 candidates). Voter turnout: 59.3% of eligible voters.
Ward 2 Councillor: Hope Jamieson
Ousted the incumbent, Jonathan Galgay. Hope received 2,989 of 7,702 votes (38.8% of votes across 7 candidates). Voter turnout: 53.6% of eligible voters.
Ward 3 Councillor: Jamie Korab
Replacing Bruce Tilley, who did not re-rerun. Jamie received 5,079 of 8,059 votes (63.0% of votes across 3 candidates). Voter turnout: 55.7% of eligible voters.
Ward 4 Councillor: Ian Froude
Replacing Sheilagh O’Leary, who successfully ran for Deputy Mayor. Ian received 3,652 of 6,010 votes (60.8% across 2 candidates). Voter Turnout: 49.7% of eligible voters.
Ward 5 Councillor: Wally Collins
Wally successfully kept his seat, earning 2.286 of 7,360 (31.1% of votes across 5 candidates). Voter turnout: 55.5% of eligible voters.
At Large Councillor (1 of 4): Maggie Burton
Maggie received the most votes for councillor at large, at 20,623 votes. She is effectively replacing Tom Hann.
At Large Councillor (2 of 4): Dave Lane
Successfully re-ran for this position; Dave received the second highest number of votes for an at-large councillor with 16,959 votes.
At Large Councillor (3 of 4): Sandy Hickman
Successfully re-ran for this position; Sandy received 14,273 votes, the third highest number of votes for an At-Large Councillor.
At Large Councillor (4 of 4): Debbie Hanlon
Debbie is effectively replacing Art Puddister; she received 13, 633 votes, the fourth highest number of votes for an At-Large Councillor.
I’m glad that half the women are councillors, we finally get to see what happens.