One of the more acidic municipal election campaigns in recent memory took barely an hour to resolve once the polls closed Monday evening. Emerging as the popular winner was a jubilant Heather Jackson-Chapman who, by clinching the mayoral race, out-distanced what can only be referred to as the old boys club – Cliff Barwick seeking re-election and Al Riddell eager to launch a political career that never got off the ground.
The 2010 St. Thomas municipal vote can best be characterized as the “dump-Barwick-at-any-cost” campaign and it succeeded – however his fate was sealed nearly two months ago. More on that shortly.
For Heather, the early days in office will be a severe test of her mettle, beginning with the appointment of a finance chairman, normally filled by the top polling alderman, in this case Lori Baldwin-Sands, another winner, albeit a surprise to many. Lori’s strength is social services and she may choose to stay that course. If so, Heather will be under pressure from several quarters to fill one of the most important chairman positions at city hall.