Kusmierczyk wins Windsor Ward 7 seat
It was a close battle right to the end, but Irek Kusmierczyk is councillor-elect for Windsor’s Ward 7.
It came down to the wire Monday night in the race to crown a new councillor for the city’s vacant Ward. Going into the 13th and final poll, it was a tie between Kusmierczyk and Angelo Marignani with 1,010 votes a piece. The small crowd at the WFCU Centre sat on the edge of their seats, as the final poll was tabulated, revealing Kusmierczyk as the winner by 52 votes.
"We gave the city of Windsor and Ward 7 a ‘thrilla in Manila’,” says Kusmierczyk. “This was a sort of OT battle, and I'm looking forward to doing it again."
Kusmierczyk clenched the Ward 7 seat with 31.3 per cent of the vote totalling in at 1,140 votes. Kusmierczyk beat out second place Marignani who captured 29.87 per cent or 1,088 votes. Of the 16,757 eligible voters 3,642 submitted a ballot. That equates to a 21.73 per cent turnout.
"Usually we get a lot bigger turnout for a general election, when there's a mayoral vote," says Steve Vlachodimos, deputy city clerk. “I’m not surprised.”
Marignani or any other candidate has 15 days to request a recount, by submitting a letter to the clerk. It would ultimately fall on city council to decide whether or not a recount is warranted.
“It would be up to city council to pass a resolution as to whether or not they would want a recount within 30 days,” says Vlachodimos.
The Ward 7 seat was vacated by Percy Hatfield after running and winning the Windsor-Tecumseh provincial byelection earlier in 2013. Hatfield won by a landslide for the NDP. That byelection was called, after former finance minister Dwight Duncan stepped down.
Kusmierczyk took some criticism for not living in east Windsor’s Ward 7, but says he is currently scoping out real estate in the area.
"I'm looking forward to moving back home which is where I grew up,” says Kusmierczyk. “I'm just really excited right now."
Kusmierczyk will hold the seat until the next municipal election in October 2014, where he plans to run again.
"I think we can do some really great things within a year, and again, I'm just really excited to join that team."
In total 11 candidates ran in the byelection; Ernie The Baconman, Tosin Bello, Robert Mitchell Bialkowski, Steve Farrell, Robin L. Fortier, Stavros Gavrilidis, Laurie Komon, Kusmierczyk, Marignani, Clint Weir and Tom Wilson.
Windsor city council previously voted in-favour of appointing someone to the seat, but reversed that decision when a loud minority fought for a byelection. It comes in at a cost of approximately $70,000 to $90,000 to city tax payers.
Vlachodimos says the plan now is to have Kusmierczyk sworn in by mid-week.
“We have to finalize the results, and then ask the councillor-elect to come in either Wednesday or Thursday to be sworn in,” says Vlachodimos. “We want to get all the material to the councillor-elect.”
The city’s last council meeting of the year is on Dec. 16.