It became obvious very early in the evening: Vaughan wanted Maurizio Bevilacqua.
The first poll results to be projected on the wall at former MP Bevilacqua’s election night party showed him with 1,606 votes, and his main opponents, Linda Jackson and Mario Racco, not having even the half of that number.
That’s when supporters gathered at Riviera Parque started screaming “It’s over!”
Bevilacqua, the mayor-elect of Vaughan, showed up later through the evening to address throngs of supporters and media.
“Tonight you have given me a strong mandate to lead our council, a strong mandate to lead the city of Vaughan,” he said. “You have voted for change. Change and leadership, change in the direction of the city. I will do my best to give you that and much, much more.”
Bevilacqua won by a landslide, with an unofficial result of over 45,000. It’s not his first big victory – in 1993 he set a record for the most votes received by a candidate in federal election.
“As your mayor I see a city that will be praised for its character and integrity, acclaimed for its responsible planning and economic leadership, renowned for its first-class administration, its transparency, accountability and respect for your hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. “This will be Vaughan’s new image.”
A great number of supporters came to the party, where they could all share the moment of victory of the newly elected mayor.
One of them, Onofrio Pesce, said Bevilacqua is a man of honesty and integrity, exactly what everybody wanted from the new mayor.
”They’re sick and tired of the last four years,” Pesce said. “Everybody’s pointing fingers and blaming one another, so hopefully … I know he’s going to be better than what we’ve had the last four years.”
Just down the street at Bellevue Manor, the mood at outgoing mayor Linda Jackson’s party was sombre. Jackson finished second with an unofficial result of 10,166 votes.
Jackson, though, remained steadfast and positive as she addressed her supporters, many of whom were notably disappointed.
“The residents of Vaughan have spoken,” she said. “And you know what – that’s okay. I am happy. Please don’t be upset, please don’t be disappointed, because the residents of Vaughan have spoken.”
Jackson has been the mayor of Vaughan for the last four years, during which she faced charges of overspending on her 2006 campaign.
“If the vote was closer I would think that I would have a lot more regrets,” she said. “It looks like there’s going to be a lot of new councillors on Vaughan council and I know and I hope that they will bring Vaughan to all new heights.”
“Unfortunately I was disappointed,” said Sayim Kaya, one of Jackson’s supporters. “I thought she was going to win. Let’s see in the next four years what the new mayor is going to do for Vaughan.”
Mario Racco finished third with an unofficial result of 10,134 votes. He said that even though he’s been recently spending a lot of time in politics, he would probably go back to working as an accountant.
“The win is clear,” Racco said. “It’s a very clear win, so I wish him well and let him do his job.”