Paul Horn won Mission’s open mayoral seat by a landslide Saturday night.
With 2,122 votes, he almost doubled his closest competitor, Rhett Nicholson, who won 1,083. He won at every one of Mission’s polling stations by a significant margin.
“I feel thrilled, you know, it’s been a long process. We started in November, and so it’s exciting to see it come to fruition,” Horn said, who was the first candidate to announce his candidacy after Pam Alexis exited the position and went on to win the MLA seat.
Horn said he hadn’t planned to run until people from the community encouraged him to fill the empty seat.
“I would walk down the street, somebody would ask me, I get a phone call, somebody would ask me – and some of them are folks that I just didn’t expect to hear it from, so that got me thinking,” he said. “It was really not an automatic thing.”
But the sweep was something he said he did not expect.
“When I went out there and I was walking around, I saw evidence everywhere that Rhett was really working hard,” Horn said. “I did not expect it to be quite as much of a division as it is here.”
The by-election brought out a total of 5,085 voters, compared to 8,727 in the 2018 municipal election.
Horn said it’s understandable during the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit a bit lower than he expected.
“There’s a pretty clear mandate there, that’s one of the things that I’m pretty happy about.”
The first thing Horn plans to do as mayor is to examine some committees, one of them being the Mission Health Community Council, designed to help the District catch up with questions on affordable housing, homelessness and poverty.
He said he also wants to create a committee to help Missionites have more engagement with their neighbours and municipal hall.
“I really want to accelerate those things. And I’ll be sitting and talking with all of the current council and staff, really starting off with the hotspots from their perspective as well.”
But the first thing he plans to do tonight is call his father, who stayed up to hear the result.
Nicholson, who finished in second place, said he wasn’t surprised by the low turnout, but the results wasn’t what he expected.
“I thought it was going to be a lot closer, but I guess it turned out not to be. I think a lot of people didn’t vote,” he said.
Nicholson intends to stay politically active.
“I’ll congratulate Paul, but I’m going to be hounding him and making sure he’s on his game and watching what he does and making sure that he’s pulling through for everything he said he was gonna do. And if he’s not, I’ll be right there behind him,” said Nicholson
He wanted to thank his supporters, calling them the best supporters anyone could ask for.
Mayoral candidate Nelson Tilbury, who finished in third spot with 736 votes, said when he saw the results he thought “it is what it is.”
“I figured I was going to do a little better, but I think it was a good election. I think everybody played fairly well.”
Tilbury said he enjoyed the election process.
“I think we got our point out there. I think even though we’re not going to be successful in this, we sent a message that there is some stuff that needs to be dealt with.”
He compared campaigning to going to his own funeral.
“Except you get to be alive and listen to people say nice things about you.”
Tilbury wasn’t surprised by the modest turnout by voters, noting that by-election often attract fewer voters.
Tonight’s vote count is considered unofficial, until it is verified sometime next week.