Losing candidates speak their minds

Eleven candidates, six seats. They knew from the start they couldn’t all become councillors.
But the candidates who ran in Monday’s election but came up short did learn a few things, and took some time yesterday to share their thoughts on the experience.
“The people decide, and they decided they wanted a 50/50 council of the old and new. It’s their choice—it’s democracy,” said John Albanese, who garnered the most votes out of those not elected (1,743)—less than 100 fewer than incumbent Coun. Neil Kabel for the final seat up for grabs.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed. I was ready to give 110 percent,” he added. “If I’m as healthy as I am now in three years, I’ll give it another try.”
But Albanese, who previously served on town council from 1985-91, added that “losing” is only a matter of perspective.
“Allyson and I were sitting on the couch watching the results come in,” he recounted. “And after, she gave me a big hug and said, ‘I’m glad you didn’t win because now I’ll get to spend more time with you.’”
Albanese noted he liked both mayoral candidates, but is confident Dan Onichuk is capable in his new position. “Danny is young. He has new ideas, he has things to learn, but he’ll be good for the community,” he said.
Bud Edwards, who received the fewest votes of any council candidate with 1,030, said the night was a bit of a shock to him.
“I was very surprised I ended up last,” he remarked. “At first, it’s a pride thing. But then reality sets in and you realize how subjective this election business is.”
Edwards shared his thoughts about how unpredictable the election results ended up being to him.
“I thought the race for mayor would have been much closer,” he noted. “I was surprised all the incumbent candidates made it back in. I was surprised about the final vote count for the two new candidates [Rick Wiedenhoeft and Todd Hamilton].
“I wasn’t surprised Tannis Drysdale was elected,” Edwards continued. “I have huge expectations for her, especially with her background with NOACC and her political connections in Toronto.
“All in all, it was an interesting campaign,” he concluded. “There was a lot of interesting ideas voters got to choose from. And the new council looks to be a strong mix.”
He also was “happy with the voter turnout increase” over the 2000 election, despite what other council candidates might say.
Misty Christian, who got 1,050 votes to place 10th, said she was encouraged by the experience—and plans to have another go at municipal politics in the future.
“Being the youngest person, not coming in last was a thrill for me,” she remarked.
“That was really nice,” she added. “I didn’t go into it thinking I would win. I just wanted the experience.
“When people found out I was running, they came up to me and wanted to know what I stood for, and talked about what was important to them in this town. I found it all very interesting.
“If I’m still here in 2006, I’d like to run again.”
Like the others, she ultimately was satisfied with the council that was elected.
“I think with the diversity of the people elected, it’s going to be interesting to see what they bring to the table,” said Christian. “I wanted at least one person from the previous council to make it, but on the other hand, I’d like to have seen more of a variety of people elected.”
Pastor Stephen Laing, of the Calvary Tabernacle, also said he was pleased to see the outcome despite the fact his 1,466 votes weren’t quite enough crack the “top six.”
“I went into it knowing it was a kind of a toss-up. I did know what I was up against, but I was interested to see how I would fare,” he noted. “And I was pleased to see the support I did get.
“It was a very healthy council that we ended up with, with a 50/50 mix,” he remarked. “And I enjoyed the mail-in ballot. It gives people no excuse for not voting.”
Gus Lindberg, also a former councillor who garnered 1,186 votes, similarly had no hard feelings about the outcome.
“The residents of the Town of Fort Frances have spoken, and they’ve elected a new mayor, and three incumbent councillors, and three local residents to represent the Town of Fort Frances,” said Lindberg.
“I wish to congratulate them on their success, and wish them the best of luck in the next three years,” he added. “I would also like to thank all the candidates for running.
“And I would like to thank the residents of Fort Frances who supported me.”