Sean Smyth is expected to be named the winner of the 2021 municipal by-election Wednesday, replacing Michele Babchuk on Campbell River City Council after she was elected to the provincial legislature in October.
Preliminary results released by the city on Saturday night after polls closed had Smyth with a commanding lead over the next closest candidate of the eight people vying for the role. Smyth’s preliminary results were 1,003 votes to Ken Blackburn’s 477.
Smyth thinks it was a combination of factors that pushed his decisive numbers at the polls.
“When I started my campaign, I wanted to make my focus on two things,” Smyth says. “The first was just getting people to go out and vote. I didn’t think about it until afterwards, but if I’m the one pushing that message and it makes them go vote, a lot of them are probably going to vote for the person they heard it from. So that probably helped, but the other thing was that I really wanted to be supportive of business and industry in town, and I found that really resonated with a lot of people.”
Smyth says he spent a lot of time going door-to-door in the business community to hear their concerns, and found a very receptive audience.
“I went in to all the businesses I could find that were set up for COVID-ness and able to have people just walk in, and just had a chat with the owners,” Smyth says. “A lot of them said that’s never happened before, and I really got to learn more about what the concerns in town are, and then I focused my campaign around those concerns.”
Assuming he is, in fact, confirmed as the winner today, Smyth says he won’t be going into council chambers guns-a-blazing and trying to make a huge immediate impact. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be sitting on the sidelines watching, either.
“When I decide to do something I’m going to wade right in and get doing it, so I’ve already got some ideas about a few motions I’d like to put forward,” Smyth says. “But having said that, they’re going to be small ones rather than major ones, because I recognize you can’t flip the world upside down overnight. We’ve seen that go terribly wrong in the past. But at the same time, I think you learn best by doing, so that’s going to be my strategy going in.”
The preliminary results as of Saturday night were as follows:
Sean Smyth (1,003)
Ken Blackburn (477)
Laurel Sliskovic (421)
Kealy Donaldson (182)
Wes Roed (166)
Doug Chapman (106)
Devon Garat (70)
Stephen Jewell (14)