Don Darling wins mayor's race in Saint John

Political newcomer Don Darling has been declared Saint John's new mayor in Monday's municipal election.

Political newcomer beat outgoing deputy mayor Shelley Rinehart

Saint John Mayor Don Darling hopes more U.S. citizens will considering moving to his city. (Connell Smith/CBC)

Political newcomer Don Darling has been declared Saint John's new mayor in Monday's municipal election.

Darling defeated outgoing deputy mayor Shelley Rinehart, a veteran outgoing councillor, a former councillor and a retiree for the top job in New Brunswick's largest city.

He led the race all night, finishing with a solid win — 8,139 votes, over Rinehart's 6,812, according to Elections New Brunswick's unofficial results.

"We had a very solid plan," said Darling, a small business owner and consultant, who has spent the past 20 years working in the construction industry.

"We had a vision … that I had in my campaign, called Grow SJ, Grow Saint John, and that's all we talked about, from the first day of the campaign till last Saturday night at 11:30 at night."

Darling believes his message resonated with voters.

"The last couple of weeks I saw a real shift in momentum," he said.

"People were stopping their cars and coming across the street to say hello."

Darling, who says he grew up in poverty, living with his mother after his parents separated, also hopes to address poverty in the city by working with organizations to get at the root causes.

Saint John's new mayor posed with campaign volunteers at his victory party at the Saint John Ale House Monday night. (Connell Smith/CBC)
He says he's excited to get started and plans to call the city manager and clerk on Tuesday morning.

But he took time to celebrate his victory Monday night with family, friends, and campaign volunteers at the Saint John Ale House, where Rinehart stopped by to offer her congratulations.

Rinehart, a business professor at the University of New Brunswick, says she's pleased with her campaign, despite the defeat.

"When you have a city that's struggling, you know, in an economy that's struggling, then sometimes people look for a change to see if that will make a difference," she said.

Shelley Rinehart, who lost her bid to become Saint John's mayor Monday, says she's still pleased with her campaign. (Connell Smith/CBC)
The other mayoral candidates included: outgoing councillor Bill Farren (3,184), former councillor Patty Higgins (604), and Howard Arthur Yeomans (213).

All seven council incumbents who sought re-election were successful.

It looks like incumbent Councillor at large Shirley McAlary will be the city's deputy mayor.

The other council members will include:

  • Councillor at large: Gary Sullivan
  • Ward 1: incumbent Greg Norton
  • Ward 1: Blake Armstrong
  • Ward 2: incumbent John MacKenzie
  • Ward 2: Sean Casey
  • Ward 3: incumbent Gerry Lowe
  • Ward 3: incumbent Donna Reardon
  • Ward 4: incumbent Ray Strowbridge
  • Ward 4: incumbent David Merrithew

The race for the mayor's seat opened up in January when Mel Norton announced he would not be seeking a second term. Norton announced last week that he will run to become leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives.

There are 50,362 eligible voters in the city, according to Elections New Brunswick.

Nancy Grant wins in Rothesay

In neighbouring Rothesay, Nancy Grant has been declared the town's new mayor, with 2,424 votes, over outgoing councillor Pat Gallagher-Jette's 1,440, according to Election New Brunswick's unofficial results.

Grant, who previously served as deputy mayor, will be joined by seven councillors:

  • Incubment Matt Alexander
  • Incumbent Miriam Wells
  • Tiffany Mackay French
  • Incumbent Bill N. McGuire
  • Incumbent Peter Lewis
  • Grant Brenan
  • Don J. Shea

Rothesay mayor Bill Bishop decided not to re-offer. By the end of this term, he will be the longest serving municipal politician in New Brunswick with 44 years of service, including 15 at the helm.

The town has 8,766 eligible voters.

Gary Clark claims victory in Quispamsis

Quispamsis also has a new mayor after Gary Clark edged out incumbent Murray Driscoll with 2,411 votes, compared to 2,150. Beth A. Fitzpatrick finished the night with 526 votes, according to the unofficial results.

Clark, a local businessman and a two-term councillor, will have plenty of familiar faces around the table with him. Six of the seven elected councillors are incumbents. Sean Luck is the only new face.

The other council members include:

  • Incumbent Libby O'Hara
  • Incumbent Beth Thompson
  • Incumbent Lisa M. Loughery
  • Incumbent Emil T. Olsen
  • Incumbent Kirk Miller
  • Incumbent J. Pierre Rioux

There are 13,190 eligible voters in Quispamsis.

With files from Connell Smith