In a race that was at one point dubbed by some as ‘a battle of the Steves,’ longtime community volunteer Steve Craig pulled ahead to win the municipal seat for District 15 - Lower Sackville.
When all the ballots were counted, Craig pulled in 2,524 of the 6,129 votes cast. His next closest competitor was Stephen Taylor, another volunteer who garnered 1,852 votes.
Coming in third with 755 votes was Curt Wentzell, a community volunteer and the area’s RCMP community policing officer.
Janet Langille, yet another longtime community volunteer and daughter of retiring Lower Sackville councillor Bob Harvey, had 698 votes cast in her favour. Ian Wilson, a member of the union representing the school board’s support staff, garnered 300.
Craig said because the results were so slow to come in, he wasn’t willing to officially accept his win until the last poll was uploaded at 12:55 a.m.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” he said the morning after the election, joking that “this was the longest job interview I’ve ever had.”
Among his top priorities for Lower Sackville when the new council gets down to business are flooding and water management and infrastructure issues in addition to transit and transportation.
“The biggest thing in terms of HRM is getting a council that will gain back the confidence of citizens, businesses and HRM staff,” he said.
As one of only four new faces--including mayor elect Mike Savage, District 7 councillor elect Waye Mason and Matt Whitman in District 13--Craig is excited to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
“We (the newcomers) have got a fresh perspective..But the whole dynamic (of council) is going to have changed even if one individual or two or 13 have been there before,” he said.
“They are now going to be in a different environment, they have all gone through many months on the doorsteps hearing from people, they all have larger constituencies and I believe we all have a new awareness and a new hope that things can change.”
After thanking all the other Lower Sackville candidates, whom he said are “all good people,” Craig also praised everyone who voted, not just those who cast ballots in his favour.
“These are exciting times and I’m glad that I had the stuff they (the majority of voters) wanted to see at council,” he said.
In other districts:
The fight for the new District 1 - Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley ended well before ‘official’ numbers were in from HRM.
Steve Streatch, who served as councillor for the former Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit Valley District 1 since 1999, garnered 2,843 votes.
He conceded defeat relatively early to Barry Dalrymple, the councillor for District 2 Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank since 2008, who pulled in 3,806 of votes cast.
The incumbents were pitted against one another in a campaign that at times became a bit heated.
“Some were saying this was a nasty campaign and it wasn’t. It was blunt and direct, and it was two incumbent councillors who wanted to represent the community,” Dalrymple said in an election night interview. “Steve called (to concede), he was gracious and a gentleman and I’m so grateful for that.”
Dalrymple said the UARB boundary change definitely worked in his favour, as he had the advantage of a larger population base.
In an interview, Streatch said he was pleased with his campaign and he pledged to work with Dalrymple.
“It was a stressful campaign. We’ve come together, though, and we will get beyond any differences,” Streatch said. “We’ll work together for the future of the new district.”
In District 13 - Hammonds Plains – St. Margarets it was a three way race with 42-year-old Matt Whitman coming out on top. The life insurance broker beat out incumbent Peter Lund, winning 3,202 of the 7,163 votes cast. Lund came out second with 2,897 supporters while Doug Poulton, who lost to Lund two years ago, came in third with 1,064 votes.
In District 14 - Upper/Middle Sackville and Beaverbank incumbent Brad Johns came out on top beating newcomer Laurie Sauers by nearly 2,000 votes. Johns, who also served as Deputy Mayor in 2010 received 3,141 of the 4,331 votes cast leaving Sauers, a retired teacher, with 1,190.
Tim Outhit re-claimed his seat in District 16 - Bedford-Wentworth beating out the only other candidate in the race, Mark Ward. Outhit, who said he wasn't quite as nervous this time around, received 5,386 votes while 54-year-old Ward, a base parking administrator in training, managed to pull in 1,055 of the 6,441 votes cast.