Gary Crawford took Ward 20 in a race against fellow incumbent Michelle Holland-Berardinetti that went down to the wire – the final result decided by 383 votes.
It was a race that truly emphasized the importance of each vote.
Supporters at Crawford’s party headquarters celebrated the win, citing his accessibility, grassroots approach and community involvement as a few of the reasons they voted for him.
“He has integrity. He does what he says. It’s simple,” supporter John Whyte said.
The tight race was in large part due to the recent city council cuts made by the province in mid-September.
The Ford government’s dramatic and sudden decision to cut the number of wards in Toronto from 47 to 25 saw constituent numbers in each ward increase to about 109,00 from the previous 62,000.
With a municipal election around the corner the approval left city council candidates with two days to decide if they still wanted to run under the new 25 ward council.
The result was 22 incumbents in 11 wards across the city going head to head for re-election, including Gary Crawford and Michelle Holland-Berardinetti in the new amalgamated Scarborough Southwest.
A total of ten candidates were vying for a seat on city council – Gerard Arbour, Mohsin Bhuiyan, Paulina Corpuz, John Letonja, Robert McDermott, Suman Roy, Curtis Smith, Bruce Waters and the two incumbents.
Crawford, the chair of the city’s budget committee, represented what was Ward 36 (Scarborough South), while Holland-Berardinetti, the city’s chief planning officer, represented what was Ward 35 (Scarborough North).
Pitted against each other, both candidates made the decision to run positive campaigns focused on their accomplishments as councillors to date, rather than the shortcomings of their opponent.
And though neither Holland-Berardinetti or Crawford supported the way the Ford government imposed city council cuts, neither disagreed with the cuts themselves.
But they say changes beyond city council cuts are needed to truly make an impact.
In a post-victory interview with Humber News Crawford re-emphasized this, saying that the biggest challenge post-election will be the restructuring that needs to take place downtown to ensure the 25 ward system is successful.
In his victory speech at the Tara Inn in Scarborough, Crawford not only thanked his supporters and his team, but also thanked Holland-Berardinetti for her years of public service as a city councillor.
With the polls leading up to the election showing only a 2.8% lead from Crawford, the race was intense, competitive and very close.
But in the words of Crawford’s campaign manager Gail Ross, “a win is a win is a win is a win”.