With about 100 supporters looking on, Victor Cumming called everyone to attention at the Museum and Archives of Greater Vernon’s back conference room.
He gathered in the middle, cleared his throat, and announced loudly to his supporters, “I am mayor.”
The room erupted in applause.
Cumming, first elected mayor of Vernon in 2018, retained his seat unofficially in Saturday’s municipal election, handily staving off councillor Scott Anderson and challenger Erik Olesen.
“I’m obviously very pleased,” said Cumming. “It was a heckuva campaign and I’m really happy to have come out ahead.”
Cumming praised Anderson for his contribution to the city as a councillor over the past two terms.
“He ran a very good campaign, put a phenomenal amount of effort into it, and my thoughts go out to him tonight.”
Anderson is the only incumbent who will be missing from the next Vernon council as incumbent councillors Kelly Fehr (4,538 votes), Kari Gares (4,485), Teresa Durning (4,309), Akbal Mund (4,131) and Brian Quiring (3,945) retained their seats. They will be joined by newcomer Brian Guy who collected 4,092 votes.
The new council will be sworn in at the inaugural meeting Nov. 7, 7 p.m. at council chambers. The first regular meeting of council is Nov. 14.
“It’s a good council, I work well with all of them,” said Cumming. “We’ve had differences of opinions, and I sure hope we continue to have differences as we move forward. All of them knows what goes on at council. All of them are hard-working. All of them are really clear about what’s best for Vernon and we might have slight variations on that, but that’s OK. That’s what councils are about.”
Vernon’s three mayoral candidates eagerly awaited the results of the 2022 election, each with a team of supporters by their sides.
Scott Anderson was with family and friends at the Phoenix Steakhouse and Bar when the election results came in. Anderson earned 3,673 votes, not enough to top Cumming’s 4,346.
Anderson said the results were “a little surprising.”
“I thought I had momentum behind me, but the voters have spoken and Victor’s on. That’s the way it goes,” he said.
“I was hoping to increase civic pride, make our streets safer, clean our city up … and generally open doors to development so that we can build enough homes for everybody. If we wait for the province to do it, which seems to be the plan, it’ll take 900 years.
“The public has spoken and I certainly believe in their right to do that. So, good for Victor.”
Anderson said it’s too early to say if he’ll run again in a future election.
Erik Olesen was with family waiting for the numbers to roll in. He earned 530 votes for mayor.
“I always go into elections hopeful,” said Olesen. “This election has been interesting with so many positive comments and from residents stating they have seen definite improvements in my mayoral campaign compared to 2018. I also have to look at the race and understand I am also going up against essentially two incumbent candidates which makes my chances tougher.”
A total of 8,677 voters turned out to the polls in Vernon this year, representing 24.4 per cent of eligible voters. In 2018, voter turnout in Vernon was 29.6 per cent.
The other candidates who did not earn a seat (and the number of votes earned) are: Jenelle Brewer (3,659), Dawn Tucker (3,456), Ed Stranks (1,860), Stephanie Hendy (1,578), Ross Hawes (1,484), Patrick Vance (1,256) and Andy Wylie (677).