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North Delta, Ladner support push Jackson to fifth term

North Delta once again proved to be the roadblock for opponents trying to unseat Mayor Lois Jackson, who was elected to a fifth term Saturday.

North Delta once again proved to be the roadblock for opponents trying to unseat Mayor Lois Jackson, who was elected to a fifth term Saturday.

It looked like a more intriguing race this year with former councillor Krista Engelland and current councillor Heather King both challenging Jackson. Independent John Meech was also running for mayor.

When the results were tallied Saturday, Jackson, a North Delta resident, proved too strong, due once again to tremendous voter support in North Delta.

All three opponents, who live in South Delta, had campaigned on a need for change at municipal hall. They also counted on voter unhappiness in North Delta, which didn't end up materializing on election day.

Jackson finished with 10,044 votes (43.17 per cent) to 6,158 (26.47) for Engelland and 5,346 (22.98) for King. Meech was a distant fourth with 1,720 votes (7.39).

Jackson outdistanced her opponents in all the advanced polls, except Tsawwassen, which Engelland won. On election night, all the Ladner polls had Jackson on top, but Engelland won every Tsawwassen poll.

When it came to North Delta, a traditional Jackson stronghold, a familiar story unfolded for the incumbent mayor who dominated every poll. Even though the voter turnout in North Delta was once again lower than South Delta, it wasn't even close as Jackson hit at least 50 per cent in all but one of the polls.

Engelland, who also ran against Jackson in 2008, told the Optimist she was surprised how North Delta again voted so heavily in favour of Jackson.

"I spent the better part of my campaign, myself and my team, in North Delta for months. Door knocking in North Delta, calling people and I hosted a town hall meeting, and it all for not. We just still can't make headway in North Delta," said Engelland.

"The time and resources were certainly spent up north and my website has two videos on North Delta. So it's disappointing from that perspective when you've worked so hard to get the support and it just didn't happen."

Engelland said she heard from many in North Delta that felt it was time for a change, so said it's puzzling why that didn't translate into votes.

"Did those people not come out and vote? What happened there?" she asked.

It was particularly disappointing because Engelland said she had a strong platform and vision for North Delta.

Engelland agreed vote splitting among her and King did play a role, but not so much in North Delta, where their combined totals wouldn't have added up to Jackson's numbers.

King was also perplexed by the result, saying she campaigned heavily in North Delta where a popular sentiment seemed to be the incumbent mayor had been around long enough.

"It looked like we were very, very popular and sat in disbelief when we watched poll after poll being taken by Lois, so that's not the feedback that we got there," said King.

"I don't know what that speaks to. I think people may have been inundated with the choices and it was difficult to do the research, so it was easier to say, 'Well, you know, there hasn't been anything radically negative to cause us not to go with the incumbent.' I think people will take the path of least resistance and go with an incumbent if they can," King said.

She said her campaign's emphasis was also in North Delta, especially in the last month, and that she received a positive response.

Meech did not want to talk to the Delta Optimist when contacted.

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