Dowell simply the best
LISMORE has returned Jenny Dowell to the mayoral chair for a second term in an emphatic victory which so far has seen her claim the popular vote at every polling booth in the region.
With the ABC reporting 80% of the vote counted as of midday yesterday, Cr Dowell had achieved 53% of the popular vote, with closest competitor Neil Marks sitting on just under 22%.
"It's beyond my wildest expectations. I left the booth tonight fully expecting another mayor to be in place by Monday morning," said Cr Dowell, admitting she had been nervous about the preferencing power of the four conservative candidates lined up against her.
But several progressive candidates, including Greens group leader Vanessa Ekins, had chosen to opt out of the mayoral race in an attempt to focus the progressive vote on Cr Dowell, and the effort paid off as the sitting mayor danced across the magic 50% mark.
The strategy was not without risks. Had the vote fallen under 50%, even with a strong lead, Cr Dowell would have been hard-pressed to win further ground from the four conservative candidates who preferenced her last.
Cr Dowell said she was humbled by the support the progressive teams had shown in her.
"The other progressive teams showed their faith in me by not standing a mayoral candidate against me, and I would like to say to them thank you."
"It's a wonderful result, from not just a good campaign, but from four years of hard and diligent work."
Page MP Janelle Saffin, who had been handing out how to vote cards for Cr Dowell during polling day, said the result proved that Cr Dowell was simply seen as the best mayor, politics aside.
"She's out there, she's upfront, and she tells the truth," said Ms Saffin.