Mayor-elect Victor Cumming celebrates after learning of his win. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Cumming wins Vernon mayor’s chair

‘I felt pretty good about the campaign right from the beginning.’

Victor Cumming has been elected the Mayor of Vernon.

Cumming finished in first with 4,928 votes. Darrin Taylor took 3,608, while Erik Olesen received 990 and Art Gourley received 229.

“I felt pretty good about the campaign right from the beginning, I thought we ran a solid and consistent campaign right from the beginning,” said Cumming, joined at his celebration party at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Saturday night by his wife, Mary-Ann, their four kids, Scott, Jason, Lindsey and Kate, five grandchildren and his older sister, Pat Pearce.

“I’m really pleased that the citizens of Vernon have voted me in as mayor, very pleased with that. I’m looking forward to getting to work right away. I’ll get a day’s rest, as you can hear my voice is cracking from all of the campaigning, then I’m ready and (outgoing Mayor Mund) Akbal and I will sit down with the CAO at the end of the week.”

Four years ago, Cumming finished second to Mund by less than 700 votes, and more than doubled the third-place finisher, former councillor Mary-Jo O’Keefe.

He may have finished in second place, but when Taylor entered his private party at Ratio Coffee and Pastry after the results had come in, supporters greeted him with uproarious applause and handshakes.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. I’m really disappointed for my team. They worked incredibly hard, my family worked incredibly hard, but we’re proud of the campaign we ran. We ran a campaign on issues and ideas and about a new way of doing things. The people of Vernon have spoken to vote for the status quo. I wish Victor well,” Taylor said.

“I want to thank all of the volunteers, the people that worked really hard. I’m proud of them. We fought a good, clean campaign.”

Prior to Taylor’s arrival, the private party saw about two dozen supporters in attendance who chatted with one another to await the results. As preliminary numbers began to come in, Taylor’s party was initially hopeful that he would catch up to Cumming in the polls.

Taylor was at home with his family to hear the results.

Erik Olesen was unavailable for comment.

Last-place finisher Art Gourley was happy for Cumming, but less kind to council in general.

“Actually the results are OK. I guess I have to give Mr. Cummings credit because he’s got a little more education than I have and I guess that counts,” Gourley said at city hall after the count was made public. “I kind of think that the people are making a mistake because I’ve been here for 13 years and seen a couple mayors go through the system and nothing has ever happened here. I just don’t agree with what’s going on in this city and if they had elected me as mayor, this stuff wouldn’t have happened because I’m a little tougher than these whimps — that’s what I call them and what I think they are.”

The six council positions were filled by Brian Quiring (4,120), Scott Anderson (4,108), Dalvir Nahal (3,891), Kari Gares (3,878), Mund (3,626) and Kelly Fehr (3,512). Gares and Fehr topped the 16 challengers while the four incumbents were voted in for another term.

Gares finished seventh in the 2014 vote.

Gourley ran for a seat on city council in 2014. He received 768 votes.

In 2014, 9,644 people cast votes, resulting in a 30 per cent voter turnout, the same as Armstrong.

Enderby had the highest voter turnout in the North Okanagan four years ago at 39 per cent.


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Mayor-elect Victor Cumming with wife Mary-Ann. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

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