It was a double celebration for Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan on Saturday, as his re›election to the post for a fifth consecutive term jostled for attention with his birthday.
Mr Cadogan (63) said such was his uncertainty about the result on this occasion, he had almost forgotten his other ‘‘big day’’.
“I got out of bed Saturday morning and I’m rolling through plans, and there’s a text storm from political friends, and we’re all going through the ructions when all of a sudden [my wife, Allyson] says, ‘Happy Birthday’.
‘‘I haven’t forgotten my birthday since I was 2.”
Mr Cadogan said he was ‘‘stunned and rapt’’ to be re› elected during what had been a harder than usual and occasionally ‘‘dirty’’ campaign.
‘‘It was a funny campaign.
‘‘I couldn’t read it, because there was such a vociferous amount of noise, and yet you have to believe in the good people of the Clutha District.
“It’s been particularly tough for [councillors’] partners. There’s been a fair bit of [social media] rubbish of late which has reverberated around, and our families and partners have had to put up with it.
‘‘That’s not fair, but onwards and upwards. I thank everyone for their support.’’
In preliminary results released on Sunday, Mr Cadogan had secured 3167 votes to see off a strong challenge from incumbent Kaitangata›Matau ward councillor Bruce Graham, with 1753 votes. Newcomer challengers Gail Oats and Chris McDonald came third and fourth, with 1047 and 530 votes respectively.
Despite losing out in the mayoralty race, Mr Graham was returned successfully to council, where he will serve a fifth consecutive term in the Kaitangata›Matau ward.
The election brings changes to the council table, after five councillors stepped down.
Newcomer Kevin Barron, under the Clutha Residents and Ratepayers Association banner, replaces Carol Sutherland in the Balclutha ward.
In Bruce, newcomer Dean McCrostie replaces the outgoing Selwyn Wilkinson.
Simon McAtamney subs in for retiring deputy mayor Stewart Cowie in Clutha Valley; and Jock Martin will fill the shoes of the outgoing Mel Foster in Lawrence›Tuapeka.
Michelle Kennedy, who stepped down from the council’s West Otago ward mid›term in December 2020, due to work and health reasons, returns to replace Lloyd McCall.
Mr McCall will join Otago Regional Council, where he will represent the Molyneux ward alongside incumbent Kate Wilson.
One further new face may join Clutha, subject to final results expected today.
In the Clinton ward, newcomer Brent Mackie was leading incumbent Jo›Anne Thomson by 27 votes on Sunday, making it too close to call.