Jenny Linehan wins council by-election for Conservatives
Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate Jenny Linehan has been elected as a councillor for the Leaderdale and Melrose Ward following a by-election yesterday.
Seven candidates contested the by-election, which took place following the death of Kevin Drum.
The overall turnout was 38.2%.
Councillor Linehan joins fellow Tory Tom Miers and independent David Parker in representing the ward.
The electronic count took place this morning at Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, with Councillor Linehan elected at stage seven.
Returning Officer Rob Dickson said: “Both the electronic count and the voting yesterday ran very smoothly.
“I would like to thank all the staff involved for their considerable efforts in helping electors exercise their democratic rights during these COVID-19 times.
“I would also like to thank candidates and voters for their cooperation in adhering to all relevant guidelines throughout the process to
ensure a safe and successful by-election.”
Mrs Linehan said: “I am completely overwhelmed. I'm so grateful for everyone who went out to vote, and for the faith the people in the ward have put into me.
"I just hope that I can give back what they want from me.
"It’s been a difficult campaign. The restrictions meant I’ve had to do a lot of telephone canvassing.
"Most of my evenings have been spent calling people, so it’s certainly been different.
"I have never done this before, so I’ll get my feet under the table and I'll be shown the ropes by people who have way more experience than I do.”
The SNP's John Paton Day was pipped at the post, finishing runner-up.
He said: “I’m gutted. I’m just amazed that people can possibly vote for Tories.
"It’s like voting for the mafia.
"I’m speechless. I just can’t believe it.
"My team, the central Borders branch, are just fantastic. They deserve better and I just feel bad for them.”
Mr Paton Day added: “This is just a local election. I'm certain the SNP will come out on top in the May elections.”
Third-placed Jonny Adamson of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was more pleased with the result.
He said: “I’m delighted. We’ve increased our vote share from 2017, and we ran a really positive campaign as well.
"We gave people a choice.”
The first preferences were:
Jenny Linehan (Scottish Conservative) 1380
John Paton Day (SNP) 1042
Jonny Adamson (Scottish Liberal Democrats) 538
Mary Douglas (Independent) 159
Michael Needham (Scottish Green) 152
Scott Redpath (Scottish Labour) 115
Karen Wilks (Independent) 69