Ed Holder elected mayor of London

Ed Holder speaks to reports after being elected mayor of London, October 23, 2018. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Londoners have chosen Ed Holder to be their new mayor.

The former MP surpassed the 50 per cent plus one threshold of victory after the 13th round of ballot counting on Tuesday afternoon. Holder jumped out to a sizable lead after the first round of counting on election night, and that lead continued to grow in the rounds that followed. In the end, 57,609 of the 96,638 Londoners who cast ballots marked Holder as one of their three choices for mayor.

Outside the Central Library in downtown London, Holder spoke to reporters for the first time as mayor-elect.

“Today I feel pretty good. We were delighted with the result,” said Holder.

The 64-year-old acknowledged the other mayoral candidates, thanking them for running and bringing forward various ideas to help better the city. He also thanks Londoners who took the time to vote on Monday.

“We are a great city. I love this city and we are going to build on the many strengths that it has as we go forward,” said Holder. “Our campaign slogan has always been ‘Moving London Forward’ and that is what I truly look to do as we go forward over the next four years. It’s going to be an incredibly exciting time.”

While the controversial $500 million bus rapid transit plan dominated the election campaign, Holder stressed his first order of business will be to have sit down talks with each of his new council colleagues and city administration.

“The first priority has to be to meet with the new council and I certainly intend to meet with the administration. I need to meet with various departments and groups that are tied to the city in various ways and to speak to Londoners,” said Holder. “That has to be my priority. I have always said that one of the strength I felt I would bring to this role is that spirit of collaboration and what I want to do is live that.”

Paul Paolatto finished second in the race, followed by Tanya Park and Paul Cheng.

In a tweet sent out after the final results were released, Paolatto called on Londoners to get behind their new mayor.

“A few minutes ago, I contacted Ed Holder to congratulate him on his successful mayoral run,” Paolatto tweeted. “Now more than ever, #ldnont needs to rally around the new @CityofLdnOnt Council to help them deliver on our shared commitment to make our city a better place for all.”

Park also released a statement, thanking her supporters and telling them that the work isn’t finished.

“This was an important campaign, with so many critical issues: transit, housing, supervised injection sites, to name just a few. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to so many people over the past few months, and discover your insights and ideas about what you want our city to be,” she said in a statement posted on her Facebook page. “I was encouraged by our shared vision of a London where everyone matters. Even though the election results were not what we hoped for, I believe that we can all contribute to making London a better place for all of us. I am calling on everyone who advocated for change to continue to do so as there remains much work to be done.”

Holder, the former MP for London West, will helm a council that is a mix of incumbents and fresh faces. Councillors Phil Squire, Josh Morgan, Jesse Helmer, Anna Hopkins, Maureen Cassidy, Stephen Turner, Mo Salih, and Michael Van Holst were all re-elected. They’ll be joined by Paul Van Meerbergen, who defeated Virginia Ridley in Ward 10 to reclaim the seat he lost in 2014, and newcomers Steve Hillier, Elizabeth Peloza, Steve Lehman, Shawn Lewis, and Arielle Kayabaga. The elections of Lewis and Kayabaga mark the first time an openly gay man and a black woman have been elected to London city council.