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Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A sweet win for Burton

By Michele Henry and Jessica Leeder, Toronto Star

Message sent.

Rob Burton said he wanted to deliver a loud message when he decided to take his second run at Oakville's top job this election season, challenging 18-year incumbent Ann Mulvale.

In his previous attempt, the former journalist and YTV founder came within 28 votes of unseating the municipal veteran, prompting a controversial and expensive recount.

A couple of tense hours after the polls closed, Burton learned he'd achieved his goal this time — and by a more comfortable margin.

A crowd of supporters clutched their chests and shed tears as Burton delivered his victory speech after what turned into a nail-biter of a race.

"I don't have words to tell you how I feel in my heart," he said from his campaign headquarters in an old fast-food restaurant, moments after being declared mayor. "The election is about creating a more livable and affordable Oakville."

Tension was thick throughout the night in Burton's camp as the polls rolled in and the margin of votes between him and Mulvale widened. Still, Burton was careful not to celebrate too soon.

"We've waited more than three years for this to happen," he said.

"I said to the people during the campaign, `I want a decisive result. Either elect me or reject me. Let's not have another cliff-hanger.'"

Burton finished the election with 15,120 votes in his favour over Mulvale, who wound up with 34.2 per cent, or 13,484 votes.

Mulvale, who called Burton to concede, was unavailable for comment after the results came in and was not answering her phone. However, she had said early in the evening that she'd be happy no matter what the outcome.

"I believe in democracy," she said. "Life will go on. The sun will rise tomorrow. I'm not at all bothered about how to fill my days."

Mulvale watched the votes come in from the comfort of a swivel chair in her campaign headquarters with a yellow squeaky toy close at hand, to stay positive and help her keep her sense of humour, she said.

Days before the election, Mulvale's camp told the Star she'd be "on cloud nine" on election night.

However, a number of residents' associations and ratepayer groups predicted that voters — fed up with the town's relationship with developers and lack of clear vision — would choose change this election.

Chris Stoate, a one-time city councillor and entrepreneur, touted as an underdog who might run away with the race, came in a distant third with 7,409 votes, or 18.8 per cent.

"The people of Oakville have made up their minds. They want change," Stoate said after a congratulatory handshake with Burton.

Behind him in the race were two-time councillor Janice Wright, with just over 3,000 votes, and political newcomer Daniela Giecewicz, with 307 votes, or 0.8 per cent. Giecewicz campaigned on the basis of a longtime grievance over development that left her lakeshore property without an opening to the street.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: Features, News




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