Make that six straight wins for Frank Leonard.
The incumbent Saanich mayor secured the municipality’s top seat yet again Saturday night following a hotly contested race against David Cubberley, a former councillor who also served one term as Saanich South MLA.
“I’m humbled by (this win). I’m determined to live up to your expectations. We’re making Saanich just a wonderful community. It’s sustainable, it’s an attractive community, it’s a vibrant community even in tough economic times. And we’re going to continue with that kind of success. So thank you,” Leonard said in his victory speech. “This is a wonderful victory for us.”
The incumbent mayor received 11,151 votes, while Cubberley had 9,526, with almost all votes counted. A total of 21,134 votes were cast in Saanich.
“Obviously I wanted to win, but I’m very proud of what we accomplished,” he said. “(The results) show there was an appetite for another option to vote for for mayor.” Many said this was the first time Leonard was challenged for his mayor’s seat since his first election in 1996.
A third candidate, David Shebib, who ran a “silent campaign”, received just 173 votes. He was also running for mayor of Victoria, which he lost to incumbent Dean Fortin.
Despite the re-election of an incumbent mayor, Saanich council was destined to see at least one new face enter council chambers, as only seven of the eight incumbents sought re-election.
All seven incumbents – Susan Brice, Judy Brownoff, Vic Derman, Vicki Sanders, Dean Murdock, Leif Wergeland and Paul Gerrard – were re-elected, along with Nichola Wade. Wade previously sat on Saanich council from 2001 to 2005.
“I’m thrilled that the folks of Saanich would like to send me back to council,” Wade said after the results were in. “I’m incredibly inspired by the rest of the folks who stood (for council) and have given us great ideas. I’m not above stealing their ideas – I will give them credit – but we’ve got great energy and great ideas from them that we can use to keep moving Saanich forward.”
Also running unsuccessfully for one of the eight council seats were Rob Wickson, Jesse McClinton, Harald Wolf and Ingrid Ip.
Brice, Brownoff, Derman and Wergeland were also named Capital Regional District directors.
Leonard led from the earliest polls, though challenger David Cubberley had a solid showing.
Current Saanich councillor Wayne Hunter stepped down to run for a seat on the Saanich School Board, which he won. Also elected to SD63 was incumbent Helen Parker.
Elected to the Greater Victoria school board are Elaine Leonard, Peg Orcherton, Bev Horsman, Deborah Nohr, Michael McEvoy, Tom Ferris, Diane McNally, David Pitre and Catherine Alpha.
Nohr and McNally are new to the board, beating out incumbents John Young and Jim Holland.
Voter turnout jumped from 20.6 per cent in the 2008 municipal election to 25 per cent. A total of 21,134 votes out of a possible 83,373 were cast.
BIO: Frank Leonard is 57 years old and is the longtime Mayor of Saanich. He is married to former councillor Jackie (Ngai) Leonard and has an infant son, Atticus. He also has two adult children, and grandchildren. Leonard moved to Saanich when he was 15 years old. He was first elected to Saanich council in 1986, and elected mayor in 1996.