Garry Litke, with wife Kendra and daughter Teigan, reacts to the results of the Penticton municipal byelection, Saturday evening at the South Main Drop-In Centre. Litke, a councillor since 2005, was elected Penticton's new mayor, a spot vacated by Dan Ashton, who was elected MLA in the spring.
Garry Litke was elected mayor of Penticton in a municipal byelection on Saturday.
Litke received 2,779 votes, nearly four times the number of his nearest opponent. Vic Powell and Brian Henningson received 701 and 222 votes respectively.
"I'm feeling very gratified, relieved that the campaign is over and really anxious to get back to work," Litke said following the announcement of his win, shortly before 8:30 p.m. at the South Main Drop In Centre.
"There are so many interesting initiatives in our strategic plan that have been on the back burner for the last several months and I'm really looking forward to working with the amazing team and staff we have on city council."
Meanwhile, Katie Robinson, who collected close to 2,000 votes in an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2011, will return to council for the first time in more than a decade as she won the separate byelection to fill the empty council spot vacated by Litke.Robinson collected 1,500 votes, 340 more than Andre Martin, who placed second with 1,160.
Lynn Kelsey was third with 399 votes, followed by Patrick Buchanan and Kevin Andrews with 357 and 275 votes respectively.
"I'm speechless and that doesn't happen very often," said Robinson, when contacted at her home and told that she had won.
"When I ran for mayor in 2011, I knew I was a long shot, but I worked very hard at this campaign and my 100 per cent commitment is now to the people of Penticton. I'm extremely grateful for their support."
Robinson, 59, said her first priority is to encourage fellow councillors to return to the Committee of the Whole format which has an additional session on the morning of public meetings.
Litke, 64, a retired teacher who was first elected to council in 2005, was considered the front runner, having topped the polls in the 2011 municipal election and serving as acting mayor once Dan Ashton was elected MLA.
Powell, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011, saw his per centage dramatically increase from his first effort when he collected only 372 votes. He launched a far more aggressive campaign in his sophomore bid.
"I had fun. The people have spoken. I don't know if I'll run again because I'll be 69, come on," said Powell.
Even though he was considered a lock prior to the campaign beginning, Litke said he ran this campaign as he has every other.
"I ran this as a full-out campaign.
I was knocking on doors right up until yesterday. Today I did a lot of phoning to make sure people got out to vote."
Litke said he hopes Powell stays in touch noting he has some interesting ideas. As for working with Robinson, Litke said, "She will be a great asset to the council with her previous experience. I'm sure she will fit in really well."