In the end, every vote mattered as an IT specialist won the TDSB Ward 20 byelection, beating out 13 other candidates.
“We worked extremely hard to achieve this result.”
— Sam Sotiropoulos
The vote on Feb. 27 came down to the wire as Sam Sotiropoulos narrowly overcame Manna Wong by 165 votes, or less than three per cent. Ron Lowe finished third with 879 votes (14 per cent).
“I am extremely proud of the effort our campaign team put in this election,” said Sotiropoulos. “We worked extremely hard to achieve this result.”
According to official figures released by the City of Toronto, Sotiropoulos won with 1,849 votes, accounting for roughly 29 per cent of the votes. Only 11 per cent of eligible voters in the area cast ballots.
The trustee seat for Ward 20 became available in October when former trustee Soo Wong resigned after being elected as MPP for the riding during the provincial election. In the following November meeting, trustees decided to hold a byelection rather than appoint someone from within.
Sotiropoulos had unsuccessfully run against Soo Wong in both the 2006 and the 2010 Ward 20 elections. He stressed that he never had any hard feelings losing those elections and that he had accepted the people’s choice.
“I have a lot of respect for Soo Wong and her contributions to this area,” he said. “I wish her the best of luck and success with her new job.”
Sotiropoulos campaigned on his 16 years of experience as a computer programmer and promised that as trustee he would take a favourable stance on electronic education and make wise decisions regarding budget issues.
As a health and food expert who co-authored the The Everything Mediterranean Diet, he had promised to improve nutrition and physical education programs at schools. He was also a special assistant to Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis.
The Elementary Teachers of Toronto union had officially supported his campaign, and Karygiannis had sent voice messages to all homes in the area asking voters to consider voting for Sotiropoulos.
While Sotiropoulos won’t make any drastic changes to his current jobs for now, he said that his main priority going forward was to focus on his new responsibilities as trustee.
“I’m still considering doing another book on health in the future and won’t be severing my ties to Mr. Karygiannis,” he said. “But being a trustee will be a full-time job for me and if my other obligations conflict with it then I will definitely make changes.”