The vacant seat on the Selkirkshire ward of Scottish Borders Council has been won by independent candidate Caroline Penman.
Conservative candidate Trevor Adams led Mrs Penman by 1,247 to 1,040 first preference votes, but the latter had more second and third preference votes.
A delighted Mrs Penman said: “I’m a bit emotional!
“I’m over the moon. I’d just like to thank everybody who came out and voted yesterday.
“This is obviously all a bit new to me, so I shall have to find out the lay of the land over the next couple of weeks, and take it one step at a time.”
Mrs Penman runs Liberty Star Trading shops in Selkirk, as well as running the post office and is heavily involved in the town’s chamber of trade and the town’s Business Improvement District scheme.
After the postal votes were counted, Mr Adams was well ahead, but Mrs Penman made up some ground, before finally coming out on top after stage seven of the count.
Mr Adams told us: “We were ahead after the first preference, but the transfer votes have worked against me again.
“i was ahead until the nationalist went out, his votes went more to Caroline than to myself.
“I’m disappointed, but it’s not a battle, nobody has died, night follows day, and I congratulate Caroline.
“I’ve learned that there is no substitute for knocking on doors, and I’ve met some really nice people, even if they didn’t all vote for me.”
The result flies in the face of the bold claim made by the region’s MP John Lamont during the campaign, when he said that it was clear that it was a two-horse race between Mr Adams and John Mitchell of the SNP.
Mrs Penman’s popularity won through amongst the 45.1% of the electorate who turned out yesterday.
Councillor Penman joins Councillor Gordon Edgar and Councillor Elaine Thornton Nicol in representing the ward.
Returning Officer Tracey Logan said: “Both the electronic count and the voting yesterday ran very smoothly and I would like to thank all the staff involved across both days.”
More on this in this week’s Southern Reporter.