It was a Surrey First defeat of epic proportions at the polls on Saturday.
Gill, Surrey First’s mayoral candidate, took to the stage shortly before 10 p.m. at Central City Brew Pub to concede to former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum in Saturday’s election.
As of 11 p.m., Doug McCallum had 45,323 votes to Gill’s 28,304 with some votes still being counted (click here for the final results.) Bruce Hayne of Integrity Now was right behind Gill, with 27,798 votes.
Not a single incumbent was re-elected in the Surrey election race.
At the podium, Gill addressed a crowd of roughly 500 supporters. He thanked his family, teammates, volunteers and all who voted for him and the Surrey First team.
He then congratulated the other candidates who were elected, “particularly mayor Doug McCallum.”
“My dear friends, it’s been a real privilege to serve you as a city councillor for the last 13 years,” Gill remarked. “And while I won’t be at city hall this time around I will definitely be on the sidelines cheering on this incredible city.”
Those in the crowd chanted “Tom Gill! Tom Gill! Tom Gill!” as he concluded his speech.
Only one Surrey First councillor, Linda Annis, was elected. As of 10 p.m., she was fifth in the vote count out of the eight councillors who are to be elected. The others were all from McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition.
In his speech, Gill congratulated Annis.
“You have a big job ahead of you but I know you’re up for the challenge,” he told the crowd.
Annis later told reporters she’s “thrilled to be given the opportunity to be on Surrey council but I’m a little disappointed, actually a lot disappointed, that the rest of my teammates aren’t going to be able to join me.”
Asked how she feels about being the lone voice of opposition on Surrey’s next council, Annis said she will “need to be really good at putting forward the Surrey First platform and making sure I have a really strong voice on council.
“I think we all are running and have been elected for the right reason. We all want to make Surrey a better place. I think for that reason we’re going to be able to work really well as a team,” she added.
@surreyfirst’s Linda Annis talks about how she feels after it appears she was elected to council, but without her party. At this point, it appears she may be sitting as the lone opposition among Safe Surrey candidates. #SurreyBC #SurreyVotes pic.twitter.com/NL8OmGwRyw
— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) October 21, 2018
Gill, who has served on council since 2005, received the most votes of any councillor in the 2014 election, garnering 49.9 per cent of the vote (50,386). This year, he became Surrey First’s mayoral candidate after outgoing Mayor Linda Hepner announced she would not be seeking re-election.
Before the vote count was revealed, Councillor Vera LeFranc said she was “so nervous, I am so very nervous. I will be glad when those votes start to come in. I know we left nothing on the table, We knocked on thousands of doors and we talked to thousands and thousands of people. And I think that Surrey is ready for Surrey First. I’m excited, too.”
Surrey First council candidate Paul Hillsdon said he’s been calm for the past two week “but now that it’s finally here, nervous 100 per cent. We always knew it would be a tight election, a very close race and its been exciting to see people going to the polls, hundreds, hopefully we have a record tonight.
“We’ve been hearing very positive things in the past couple of weeks,” Hillsdon added. “So I’m positive. We know it’s going to be close.”
Councillor Mike Starchuk said this is going to “one of the more historic elections that will take place.”
Surrey First council candidate Narima Dela Cruz said she had “mixed feelings” ahead of the count.
“I’m nervous, I feel accomplished and I’m feeling positive overall,” she said, noting she knocked on doors for a minimum of two hours daily “literally every single day.”