With six challengers gunning for her seat in District 5 Dartmouth Centre, Gloria McCluskey came out on top with a strong lead on election night.
This marks another win in a long line of victories for the veteran councillor and former mayor of Dartmouth.
First elected as alderman for Dartmouth from 1985 to 1992 she was later elected as deputy mayor in 1992 and acclaimed as mayor in 1994. McCluskey was the last mayor of the city of Dartmouth before amalgamation.
After a hiatus from municipal politics, in 2004, she was elected to Halifax Regional Council in Dartmouth Centre. In 2008, she retained the seat by acclamation. And has now won the seat again in 2012 with approximately 53 percent of the vote.
Her closest challenger, Sam Austin, had 19.5 percent of the vote.
“It feels great that people trusted me and believed in me and felt that I was the best person for the job,” McCluskey said the morning after the election, she continued to say she won every one of the 39 tables or polls on election night.
“People overwhelmingly thought I was the best person for the job,” she said. “Everybody knows where I stand on an issue, there’s no guessing where I come from.”
When asked if she would run again in four years she said it was too early to say that adding she might run for the next 20 years.
Vote Count: Gloria McCluskey – 4,760, Sam Austin – 1,758, Sony Dudka – 1,195, Kate Watson – 562, Bill Zebedee – 460, Ken Bowman – 157 and Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt – 144
In other districts:
In a long showdown between two incumbents, Jackie Barkhouse won District 3 Dartmouth South – Eastern Passage by a slim 6 votes.
Bill Karsten, the other incumbent said he will be seeking an official re-count and has already sent a request to HRM.
The results were flipping back and forth between the two front-runners all night, and early the next morning until 4:30am when the final poll was finally counted.
The results have Jackie Barkhouse with 41 percent of the vote, Karsten with 40.9 and the other candidate Jim MacDonald with 18.1.
“I’m very proud of the campaign we ran, there was nothing maliciously done between the other candidates,” Karsten said the next morning from his campaign office.
An automatic recount only occurs in the case of a tie, but Karsten said he’s asking for one for due diligence.
“I will ask for a recount,” Karsten said. “Not selfishly for myself, but certainly I owe it to the residents that supported me to make sure the results are accurate and accounted for.”
“I was cautiously optimistic throughout this campaign, and obviously 7 other votes would have seen me in the lead,” Karsten said, adding he didn’t have any political endorsement from organizations and ran on his merit.
Jackie Barkhouse was not available for comment as of press time.
“This may be interpreted as crying in spilled milk, but I hope my demeanor comes through, the campaigns at the municipal level are starting to take on a new life,” Karsten said. “I believe one of the candidates was supported obviously by the labour movement and they got the vote out and good on them, but I didn’t have those sort of resources behind me.”
Vote Count: Jackie Barkhouse – 3, 352, Bill Karsten – 3,346, Jim MacDonald – 1,478,
Despite a strong showing from challenger Angela Jones, who had to battle city hall just to run, Lorelei Nicoll was re-elected in District 4 Cole Harbour Westphal with 62 percent of the vote.
This marks Nicoll’s second time representing Cole Harbour on council.
She said her commitment to Cole Harbour’s identity was a key part of her getting re-elected.
“It feels like what I set out to do, I voted for a reduced council and then went to the (Nova Scotia) Utility and Review Board to see that the Cole Harbour – Westphal area united as one municipal district,” she said on election night.
“People either like the incumbent or they don’t, and I guess this shows that people like what I’ve been doing over the last four years,” Nicoll said.
She continued saying people at the doorstep wanted a candidate who lived in the district, which may have given her an advantage.
Vote count: Lorelei Nicoll – 4,626 votes, Angela Jones – 1, 905 votes, Barry Smith – 920 votes
Darren Fisher, incumbent, finished with 4,518 votes for District 6 Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East. His only opponent, former Dartmouth alderman and MLA Jerry Pye, had 1,983 votes after all 32 polls were counted.
Darren Fisher was elected to council three years ago in the former riding of District 6 Dartmouth East-The Lakes. He has lived in Dartmouth for over 40 years. Fisher and his wife, Anne, have two children, Bruen and Ava.
David Hendsbee, incumbent, finished with 3,118 votes for District 2 Preston-Porters Lake-Eastern Shore, beating opponents Gail McQuarrie (1,175 votes), Laurie Cook (1,116 votes), Keith Leahy (1,080 votes), Jason Josey (798 votes), and Will Gilligan (370 votes).
Hendsbee has spent the past five years as councillor for District 3, and from 1993 to 1999 as a Halifax County Councillor for District 8 – Preston – The Lakes. He served as deputy mayor from November 2008 to November 2009. Hendsbee lives in Westphal with his wife, Susan Goodyer.