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[UPDATE] Wright fails in bid for fifth term

Incumbent mayor Wayne Wright defeated by labour-endorsed Jonathan Cote

Nine years after squeaking into the mayor's chair by defeating the reigning mayor, four-term mayor Wayne Wright has been defeated by three-term councillor Jonathan Cote.

Wright, first elected mayor in 2002, would have entered the record books as New Westminster's longest serving mayor if he'd won.

But, on election night, Cote never trailed Wright, his lead growing with each poll reporting. Wright garnered 5,149 votes (35.58 per cent) of the votes cast, compared to Cote's 7,661 (52.94 per cent).

"I think when you look at that board you see seven people on there from the same place," he said, referring to the fact that Cote and all six elected councillors are endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council. "They've got a machine and the machine worked. It's that simple. We knew that when we were going in it was a tough one."

While Wright has faced challengers for his seat each election since defeating incumbent Helen Sparkes in 2002, he's never had to go up against a labour-endorsed candidate.

"I think it shows you how strong some people can be if they get lots of help," he told The Record. "I think you put the person one on one and let's see what happens. That's too big a lead without having a lot of help from a lot of people. He's got a job in front of him, and I am sure he is going to do the best he can."

Like Cote, all six councillors elected on Saturday night were endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council.

"The proof of the pudding is if you don't get one other one in there, then they were beaten by a slate," Wright said. "There is no doubt about it."

Wright, accompanied by daughter Jamie and grandsons Jacob and Ryland, was in council chambers as the results were released.

"It's better to be here. You can watch it unfold in front of you, you can see the other people that are wining and losing, being part of it," he said. "It's part of the whole thing."

After getting the results at city hall, Wright headed to the Heritage Grill where he spoke to supporters.

"What can I say? I'd like to have won. I'll have to start doing something else tomorrow," Wright told The Record. "I am here, I think, till Dec. 6."

Coun. Lorrie Williams tearfully embraced Wright in council chambers when it was clear he would be defeated by Cote. All of the incumbent councillors endorsed Cote.

"You did a hell of a job for us," said Puchmayr, who urged Wright to run for council back more than a decade ago.

During his tenure, many credited him for leading the revitalization of the downtown and spearheading the development go Westminster Pier Park.

"Let's face it, most of the things that were done were coming out of me. Maybe that will change. Maybe Jonathan's got some other plans that he will do," he said. "Everything that we have got going forward now is pretty well written in stone. You can't change too much."