Francis returns for 3rd term in Windsor

The man who promised he would only be a two-term mayor handily won a third term in office in Windsor, Ont., on Monday evening.
Sienna Francis, 3, helps her father, Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, celebrate his election to a third term in office on Monday night in Windsor. ((CBC))

The man who promised he would only be a two-term mayor handily won a third term in office in Windsor, Ont., on Monday evening.

Eddie Francis was re-elected with 56 per cent of the vote over his nearest competitor, Rick Limoges, who garnered 40 per cent of the ballots.

The result was not the horse-race many had predicted or even hoped for.

"The hard work of the past seven years will now continue," said Francis, 36, who was the city's youngest councillor ever elected when he was voted in at the age of 25. Four years later, he became the city's youngest mayor.

In conceding to Francis, Limoges said that while he didn't win, he achieved at least one goal of his campaign: "We woke up the city of Windsor over the last couple of months. People … have stopped, given it a really good thought, and then decided where they wanted to head."

Strong voter turnout

However, the real victor of the evening may have been democracy itself — voter turnout reached 46.28 per cent, up from 38.2 per cent in the 2006 election.

Voter Turnout in Windsor

 Overall 46.28 %
 Ward 1 52.85 %
 Ward 2 33.86 %
 Ward 3 35.45 %
 Ward 4 42.01 %
 Ward 5 47.45 %
 Ward 6 56.77 %
 Ward 7 50.98 %
 Ward 8 44.95 %
 Ward 9 45.70%
 Ward 10 51.59 %

"I certainly hope they [voters] remain as engaged as they were today," Limoges said.

The election was the first for voters under the new 10-ward system, with one councillor per ward, which was introduced earlier this year to replace the five-ward, two councillors per ward system.

There will be three new faces around the city council table. Hilary Payne, the leader of the Boarded Up Houses Demolition Action Group, will represent the newly formed Ward 9. In Ward 10, Al Maghnieh, the former aid to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, will represent the new riding.

In what many considered a significant upset, Ken Lewenza Jr., was ousted by Ed Sleiman, who had twice challenged Lewenza in Ward 5 where urban blight was a major voting issue.

In one of the closest races of the night, Ward 2 Councillor Ron Jones held on to his seat by just three votes, beating John Elliott 2,110 votes to 2,107.

LaSalle, Leamington mayors unseated

Essex County saw a few changes, most notably in LaSalle and Leamington.

Former LaSalle chief administrative officer Ken Antaya unseated Gary Baxter.

In Leamington, Coun. John Paterson ascends to the position of mayor, ousting John Adams who had served as mayor for the past eight years and also acts at the county's deputy warden.

The Kingsville mayoral race was closely watched by many at the local and federal levels.

Prior to the election Mayor Nelson Santos announced his intent to run for the federal Liberals in the next election, which will be held by 2012.

Some in Kingsville had questioned his commitment to the municipality if he remained the candidate for Essex.

After his victory Monday, Santos told CBC News he will still run for federal office, taking his community-based intentions to a higher political level.

Ron McDermott was re-elected in Essex, as was Tom Bain in Lakeshore. Rick Masse was acclaimed in Pelee Island along with Gary McNamara in Tecumseh.

In Chatham-Kent, what began as a close race for mayor ended with the re-election of Randy Hope.

In Sarnia, the popular Mike Bradley will return for an eighth term as mayor.