Sarnia voters gave Mike Bradley a resounding mandate Monday night, electing the city’s longest-serving mayor to a record 10th term.
“We are going to take back City Hall,” Bradley said surrounded by more than 100 cheering, fist-pumping supporters gathered at Stokes By the Bay.
The mayor arrived shortly after the results came in, moved to tears for nearly 10 minutes while campaign workers hugged and shook his hand.
A pipe band and drum corps marched through the restaurant while the crowd clapped and chanted his name, followed by “Four more years!”
During the campaign, Bradley said re-election would exonerate him for his part in the dissention that characterized the past term at City Hall.
Residents spoke loud and clear, giving Bradley 16,238 votes, more than twice the number of challenger Anne Marie Gillis.
Gillis, a 15-year councillor who ran a campaign based on restoring harmony at City Hall, finished with 7,569 votes.
Kip Cuthbert garnered 592 votes and Fred Ingham, who didn’t attend a single campaign event, had 397 votes.
“I’ve been really emotional tonight,” Bradley said, choking back tears during his victory speech.
“Take down that wall, Bradley,” one man yelled from the back of the crowd, referring to the separation between the mayor and staff constructed during the past term.
Bradley thanked his campaign manager Michele Stokley, saying his team ran an “inspiring” campaign with no negativity.
He acknowledged former mayors Andy Brandt and Ron Gordon, who attended his victory party, and congratulated veteran councillor and staunch Bradley supporter David Boushy, who topped the polls in his bid for a city/county seat.
“You don’t know what that man has done through the last couple of years,” Bradley told his supporters, referring to Boushy. He also thanked his long time assistant Janis Moore who smiled while wiping away tears.
Characteristically, Bradley kept his victory speech brief.
“We will do incredible things for Sarnia,” he said.
Stokley said she agreed to be Bradley’s campaign manager because he was so supportive when she entered the restaurant business in Sarnia.
“He was the guy who came out and cut the ribbon and gave me business advice.”
Bradley didn’t deserve the public embarrassment of two investigations into his treatment of staff, she said.
“I think it was Mike Bradley who was harassed,” she said. “It wasn’t fair to Mike and I think people see that.”
Sarnian voters returned just two of the five incumbent city councillors: Boushy and Brian White.
Political veterans Terry Burrell and Mike Stark also won seats, along with newcomers Margaret Bird, Bill Dennis, Nathan Colquhoun and George Vandenberg.
Voter turnout in Sarnia was 48.9%, compared to 37.1% in 2014.
In Point Edward, Mayor Bev Hand was acclaimed.
In a very tight race, Paul Burgess, Larry Gordon, Greg Grimes and Tim Mondoux were elected to the four available seats. Janice Robson, a 21-year veteran of municipal council, was not returned, finishing four votes out of the running.
In St. Clair Township, incumbent Steve Arnold was re-elected to a fourth term as mayor. Steve Miller, who defeated incumbent Peter Gilliland, is the new deputy mayor.
The results from Sarnia’s first election using electronic voting were unexpectedly delayed for about 90 minutes.
The city’s unofficial results are:
MAYOR – 1 elected
Mike Bradley 16,238
Anne Marie Gillis 7,569
Kip Cuthbert 592
Fred Ingham 397
CITY COUNCILOR – top 4 elected
Bill Dennis 8,038
Terry Burrell 6,231
Nathan Colquhoun 5,846
George Vandenberg 5,604
Meghan Reale 5,492
Michelle Parks 5,189
Joseph Santoro 4,664
Matt Mitro 4,140
Susan MacFarlane 4,019
David Waters 3,500
Eric Dalziel 3,298
Melody Gibson 3,066
Gail M. White 2,800
John MacIntyre 2,359
Dave Potts 2,313
Bryan Trothen 2,296
Joe Hill 2,040
Marie Timperley 1,930
Janet Chynces 1,800
Steve Blair 1,754
Denise Robertson 1,464
Peter Athanasopoulos 1,350
Gregory Jones 1,268
Bill (Hawk) Hawkins 1,126
Dan Joseph Harding 1,035
Matthew McDonald 927
M.B. Villanueva Jr. 602
Fanina Kodre 211
CITY & COUNTY COUCILLORS – Top 4 elected
Dave Boushy 11,561
Mike Stark 9,723
Brian White 8,462
Margaret Bird 8,206
Bev MacDougall 7,878
Andy Bruziewicz 7,103
Graham Pedregosa 6,785
Al Duffy 5,588
Ian A.J. Hope 4,469
Norm Francoeur 3,715
Cole Anderson 3,595
John Parker 2,341
TRUSTEE – LAMBTON KENT DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD (Including Point Edward) top 3 elected
Brittany Jenkins 9,047
Jack Fletcher 8,167
Dave Douglas 6,585
Wayne Lelland Pease 5,113
Donnie Wells 4,653
TRUSTEE – CONSEIL SCOLAIRE VIAMONDE (FRENCH LANGUAGE PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD)
Pierre Lambert (acclaimed)
TRUSTEE – ST. CLAIR CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD – Top 2 elected
Jennifer McCann 2,917
Linda Ward 2,881
Adam Roop 1,848
TRUSTEE – CONSEIL SCOLAIRE CATHOLIQUE PROVIDENCE (FRENCH LANGUAGE SEPARATE SCHOOL BOARD) – 1 elected
Sylvie C. Chmielewski