A 19-year-old university student narrowly defeated a veteran politician Tuesday night to become the mayor of Paradise, one of Newfoundland and Labrador's fastest-growing communities.

Kurtis Coombs beat incumbent Ralph Wiseman by just three votes.

"It feels great, I can't put it into words. I want to thank the people of Paradise for putting me over the top and putting their faith in me," said Coombs. "At 19 years old, it is a big deal. "

Wiseman, who has been mayor of the community just west of St. John's, on Conception Bay, since 2005, refused to comment on his loss.

Wiseman entered provincial politics in 1989 when he became the MHA for the district of Topsail.

According to the province's Municipal Elections Act, candidates can ask for a recount when a municipal election is decided by less than 10 votes.

Coombs, a political science student at Memorial University in St. John's who lives at home with his parents, believes people in Paradise truly want a new mayor.

Residents 'weren't happy with the status quo'

"People really want a change here in Paradise. They weren't getting the basic services, the infrastructure, recreational services that they needed," Coombs told CBC News. "It's something people were calling out for. They really weren't happy with the status quo."

Coombs' mother, Rhonda Chancey, said she knew early on that her son was not like other children.

"For Christmas, he wanted suits and dress shirts," said Chancey. "From the time he was out of diapers, he was watching news."

Still, his win took some of his family members by surprise.

"I didn't think he would make it," said Coombs' grandmother, Philomena Chancey.

Tuesday night, Coombs said, recount or no recount, he would celebrate his victory, but not too hard.

He's due back in class Wednesday morning.