Lisa Helps re-elected for second term as Victoria mayor
Lisa Helps has secured her second term as Victoria mayor following an election campaign that saw several candidates come forward to challenge her.
Chants of "four more years" erupted at Helps' campaign headquarters as early poll results showed her jumping out to an early lead over her next closest opponent, Stephen Hammond.
With 16 of 17 polls counted, Helps had an insurmountable lead of nearly 4,000 votes over Hammond.
"This campaign has been a referendum on the future of the city," Helps said in her victory speech. "The future of this city looks inclusive. It looks like there's room in this city for everyone, forever."
Helps won despite a recent controversy over the removal of a John A. Macdonald statue from City Hall, frustration over bike lanes, and criticisms about the way she handled an internal investigation into former Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner.
In her speech, Helps addressed what at times has been a very divisive campaign, saying she was looking forward to representing all Victorians, not just her supporters.
"I look forward to working not only with all of you and everybody who voted for me, but also with everybody who didn't, because that is the responsibility of a mayor," she said.
Asked if she would be mending fences with her critics, Helps responded: "I feel like our campaign was so positive. We didn't attack anyone at all. We didn't do anything or say anything negative, so I don't think it's so much about mending fences. What it is doing, it's about repairing the social fabric, and I've got some ideas about how we can do that."
Pressed further, Helps said she would start by extending an olive branch to fierce critic and opponent Hammond and his supporters to try to work on local issues in a bipartisan manner.
"I think there's some real room to come together after tonight," she said, adding that she's learned it's important to listen and communicate clearly in her time as mayor.
There'll be a mix of familiar and new faces on Helps' council, with councillors like Ben Isitt, Jeremy Loveday, Geoff Young, Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Marianna Alto returning. Isitt was the top vote-getter in Saturday's election with 14,205 ballots cast for him.
They'll be joined by newcomers Laurel Collins, Sarah Potts, and Sharmarke Dubow of the Together Victoria slate.
Election night in Victoria wasn't without some strangeness.
Prank pizza orders arrived at Helps' campaign headquarters just as election results started rolling in.
Helps said the prank orders have been happening her entire campaign and said she alerted police.
CTV's Scott Cunningham has the latest from Lisa Helps' campaign HQ, where supporters are cheering over early results showing Helps with a clear lead. pic.twitter.com/tQ2H6PtMzm— CTV News VI (@CTVNewsVI) October 21, 2018