The atmosphere at the Louis Cifer Brew Works was subdued. Liz West’s second-place finish seemed to weigh on the crowd as the candidate snaked through the mass of supporters and well-wishers. West finished with 6,664 votes, while incumbent Paula Fletcher was re-elected in Ward 30 with 11,924 votes
“Obviously I’m disappointed,” West said. “I do think I would have made a great city councillor and I think the city deserves someone open-minded and non-partisan.”
West ran against Fletcher in 2010 and lost by just 259 votes. This year the gap between the two grew to 5,260 votes. An allegation made about a ballot pre-marked for Fletcher only served to increase tensions.
Scott Tavis, West’s husband and campaign supporter, was clearly frustrated with the turnout and wasn’t about to rule out the ballot incident as a mere coincidence.
“I consider myself a left leaning person for sure, but the NDP disgust me,” he said. “I tend to take things personally, Liz takes things in stride…the NDP are cheaters, liars and stealers.”
Tavis, 53, thinks Fletcher does a poor job of representing her ward.
“For Liz, it was about doing the right thing for the neighbourhood,” he said. “This city is broken, the councillors are abysmal… 95% of incumbents will get re-elected. It’s clearly just a racket.”
Matthew Medland, another supporter of West’s, shared similar sentiments despite being happy that Toronto moved towards electing a “mayor that was more around the middle.”
“I think we were really outflanked by the NDP,” he said. “I don’t think people understood how difficult Paula Fletcher is as a councillor…she has stood in the way of anything to do with compromise and that is really upsetting.”
Medland also pointed out that the most important reason he was drawn to West’s campaign was because she wasn’t affiliated with a party.
On the subject of her future political career, West was less than optimistic.
“It’s a huge sacrifice to run and I applaud anybody who runs for any public office,” she said. “At this point I’m not thinking about it…I’m going to buy my kids hamsters tomorrow because they were able to muscle through the last nine months with me.”