The change could be reserved for Ward Anirniq residents with newcomer Erin Rutherford leading the polls ahead of incumbent Bev Esslinger until late at night after voters cast their votes in Monday’s election.
No clear winner had emerged as of midnight Tuesday, but Rutherford edged Esslinger in the close race by just 308 votes with three pending polls and no further results from the city are expected until dawn. With 21 of the 24 polls reported, Rutherford and Esslinger got 26.24 percent and 24.49 percent of the vote, respectively. Tyler Zutz was in third place with 22.03 percent, followed by Ali Haymour in fourth with 20.18 percent. Mark Davies was a distant fifth with 7.06 percent of the votes cast in his favor.
Speaking to Postmedia Monday night, Rutherford said the experience was surreal. She said she was overwhelmed when it began to appear that a victory was within her grasp.
“Based on the information I have, I feel quite hopeful and optimistic,” she said. “It was (always going to be) a challenge to face a headline … but once we started knocking on doors, once we started talking to people, once we started to get a feel for the vibe at Anirniq I soon realized how ready I was to change the room it was. “
Esslinger declined to comment until the results were firm. in a Tweet around 11pm on Monday, Esslinger said he was too close to call.
“What is very encouraging is to see the number of female candidates leading or victorious,” she wrote. “We are on our way to having more female directors than ever before … I look forward to seeing this kind of unprecedented representation and diversity on the Board.”
Rutherford aimed to capture the progressive vote, also promising to advocate for an expansion of LRT in the north and addressing concerns with the redesign of the bus network.
Esslinger’s rivals challenged his record of engagement with District 2 voters, each vowing to do more to interact, consult and listen to residents. Community safety and finances were other key issues in the neighborhood.