Henry Braun clinched his second term as mayor of Abbotsford in Saturday’s municipal election, beating out five other candidates. Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News

Henry Braun clinched his second term as mayor of Abbotsford in Saturday’s municipal election, beating out five other candidates. Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News

UPDATED: Candidates reflect on election wins – and losses

Henry Braun becomes first incumbent mayor of Abbotsford to win re-election since 1999

Henry Braun romped to victory Saturday to become the first incumbent mayor to win re-election in Abbotsford in nearly two decades.

Braun’s win came on a night of joy for the city’s incumbent councillors, with all seven who sought to retain their seats prevailing at the polls. Only Coun. Moe Gill won’t be returning, his 22-year local political career coming to an end with a failed bid to replace Braun.

Replacing Gill will be Bruce Banman, who easily won a seat on council four years after being edged out of the mayor’s chair by Braun.

After the results were declared, Braun said he was “relieved” and “elated.”

Henry Braun claimed 57 per cent of the mayoral vote Saturday, easily outdistancing five challengers and improving upon his tally from 2014. The last incumbent Abbotsford mayor to win re-election was George Ferguson in 1999, three years before he was defeated. Since then, the city has seen a string of one-term mayors.

“We’ve had three or maybe four one-term mayors. I didn’t want to be another one … I’m thankful that the citizens of Abbotsford have entrusted the city to me for another four years.”

Braun said he had been targeting the 50 per cent threshold, and was “pleasantly surprised” with the results. He said he was also pleased to see council’s incumbents returned.

The News was only briefly able to reach Gill on election night, with the longtime councillor saying midway through the release of results that he had stopped watching the numbers come in.

Gill claimed 18 per cent of the vote, and finished in third, 167 votes behind second-place Eric Nyvall.

Nyvall wrote on Facebook that “defeat can be humbling, but will only serve to make one stronger.”

He wrote the results show that “Abbotsford wanted no change whatsoever” and also decried the turnout of millennials.

Nyvall said the three-way race was tough to predict, and speculated that voters might have been willing to consider change, but retreated to the safety of the incumbent in the face of uncertainty about potential vote-splitting.

Nyvall also credited Braun for making no errors during his campaign.

Patricia Ross again led the council tallies, appearing on 56 per cent of ballots en route to claiming 18,319 votes. Ross has sat on council since 1994 and topped the council polls every year since at least 2002.

She was followed by Banman and Les Barkman, who each appeared on 52 per cent of ballots, with 17,224 and 17,223 votes respectively.

Aside from Ross, Banman and Barkman are the first council candidates this decade to appear on more than half of ballots. Dave Loewen finished fourth. Like Barkman, Loewen improved on his 2014 results by more than 5,000 ballots.

The AbbotsfordFirst slate had been assailed by council competitors during the campaign, with criticism directed less at individuals than at the idea of party politics. With no slate having run for re-election in Abbotsford before, it was unclear how members of the party would fare in their bids to retain their seats.

But the AbbotsfordFirst foursome of Brenda Falk, Ross Siemens, Kelly Chahal and Sandy Blue were all able to close out the list of re-elected incumbents.

After the results, Chahal said the pushback against the slate “obviously didn’t translate into what happened tonight.”

“I think it’s a comfort level with people, of who they know and that we have been working hard the last four years, and great things have happened in the city and we have been part of it. And since we’ve been part of this council, just take a look around visually and you see a difference.”

All four AbbotsfordFirst incumbents garnered more than 12,500 votes, leaving Dave Sidhu, a fifth AbbotsfordFirst candidate and the only non-incumbent on the slate’s ticket, on the outside looking in.

Paul Redekopp also performed well but came up short. Both garnered more than 11,500 votes, a figure that would have earned the men a spot in the top four in any previous election this decade.

But 2018’s vote was uniquely top-heavy, with two of every three votes going to one of the eight elected councillors.

Sidhu, who finished fewer than 500 votes back of Blue, said he was disappointed, having been very confident that he would win a seat.

“Unfortunately, we missed the mark,” he said. “The campaign experience was great. I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone on the AbbotsfordFirst team.”

The general manager of the Patrika newspaper, Sidhu said he will look to stay involved. As one of just a handful of candidates under the age of 40 to run, Sidhu said he wants to help prevent Indo-Canadian youth from falling into gang life.

Redekopp, meanwhile, took solace in the fact that he boosted his vote total from 2014 by around 3,000 ballots.

“That’s makes me feel better about not getting in,” said Redekopp, adding that his vote tally shows a public appetite for his message.

“People want to be heard … They’re not being heard regardless of what council says about their avenues to approach them.”

Barkman, meanwhile, said the results, with four non-slate candidates leading the polls, suggest the public wants independent voices on council.

“I think we heard a lot of people don’t like party politics and I think that was pretty strongly said.” But, he added: “We still have to go down the river in the same boat.”

Banman, for his part, said he was excited to return to city politics.

“I look forward to being able to have some input around the table and listen to the concerns of the people,” he said. “I have missed interacting with the people of this city terribly.”

Barkman and Nyvall noted that the power of incumbency is tough for would-be councilors to overcome. Even as the mayoralty has flipped back and forth, only two incumbents over the last decade have lost their seats.

SLIDESHOW: Election night in Abbotsford

RELATED: Mayoral results from across B.C.

Full results

MAYOR (elect one)

Henry Braun (incumbent): 18,732 – 57%


Eric Nyvall: 6159 – 19%

Moe Gill: 5992 – 18%

Trevor Eros: 957 – 3%

Gerda Peachey: 560 – 2%

Nadine Snow: 514 – 2%

COUNCILLOR (elect eight)

Patricia Ross (incumbent): 18,319

Bruce Banman: 17,224

Les Barkman (incumbent): 17,223

Dave Loewen (incumbent): 15,471

Brenda Falk (incumbent/AbbotsfordFirst): 14,904

Ross Siemens (incumbent/AbbotsfordFirst): 14,872

Kelly Chahal (incumbent/AbbotsfordFirst): 12,838

Sandy Blue (incumbent/AbbotsfordFirst): 12,669


Dave Sidhu (AbbotsfordFirst): 12,187

Paul Redekopp: 11,518

Josh Reynolds: 7941

Jas Anand: 5839

Aird Flavelle: 5410

Dao Tran: 5394

Harry Manocha: 5195

Vince Dimanno: 4053

Harvey Jongsma: 3262

Lawrence Tilley: 2630

TRUSTEES (elect seven)

Korky Neufeld: 12,388

Stan Petersen (incumbent): 12,295

Shirley Wilson (incumbent): 11,425

Preet Rai (incumbent): 11,091

Rhonda Pauls (incumbent): 10,327

Phil Anderson (incumbent): 10,064

Freddy Latham (incumbent): 9568


Jared White: 9540

Krista Cardinal: 9351

Earl Storey: 8514

Shelly Godwin: 8319

Raj Patara: 7860

Kathryn Sobko: 6945

Kuldeep Singh: 6486

Heidi Smit-Vinois: 5764

Michael Battel: 5179

Graham Evan MacDonell: 4009


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

Abbotsford International Airport. Black Press file photo.
Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down

Statistics Canada report describes a ‘devastating year’ for air travel

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read