About 600 votes made the difference in Abbotsford’s mayoral race, and a small per cent of the vote divided the two candidates.
Henry Braun took the mayor’s chair with 16,171 votes and 50.91 per cent. Incumbent Bruce Banman lost his seat with 15,594 votes and 49.09 per cent of the total vote, according to the unofficial election results.
The final results will be announced Monday.
The close race was made more suspenseful by a technical difficulty with election results. After a stall in the results coming into Matsqui Centennial Auditorium at city hall – where candidates and supporters waited – election officer Bill Flitton told the crowd that due to a crash of the city’s website, the final results would be delivered on paper and projected on a screen.
When the results were finally out, the crowd erupted in cheers. Banman crossed the stage to shake Braun’s hand.
Banman told The News that he wishes Braun all the best and said his own time as mayor was a pleasure.
“I love this city, that will not change.”
He said now he will unwind and think about what he wants to do with his life.
Braun said that the close race shows the community is still divided and has been in the last few elections.
“That means I have some work to do – to build some bridges – which I intend to do.”
He said he wants to meet with the councillors-elect to determine their platforms and what they would like to accomplish. With four new councillors belonging to the AbbotsfordFirst slate, Braun said he thinks the community wanted change and he feels it will work well.
“I think you will see a pretty cohesive council.”
Four incumbents have been re-elected: Patricia Ross, Les Barkman, Moe Gill and Dave Loewen. The four new councillors are all members of the AbbotsfordFirst slate: Ross Siemens, Brenda Falk, Kelly Chahal and Sandy Blue.
As in the 2011 election, Ross received the highest number of votes.
Incumbent Bill MacGregor was not re-elected.
Siemens said the AbbotsfordFirst team works together well and is open-minded. He said that they will vote their conscience on issues, but have the ability to work together. He said they are hoping it will be a policy-oriented professional governance style.
Voter turnout in Abbotsford was 38.4 per cent.
– For more photos from Saturday night’s election, visit the Abbotsford News Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/myabbynewsblackpress/