Port Pirie has a new mayor

Port Pirie's new mayor, John Rohde.
Port Pirie's new mayor, John Rohde.
Former mayor Brenton Vanstone.

Former mayor Brenton Vanstone.

The battle for mayor has been fought and won by John Rohde.

The battle for mayor has been fought and won by John Rohde.

John Rohde has defeated Brenton Vanstone by 85 votes at the mayoral elections counted at the Port Pirie Council Chambers today.

The result was announced at 3.30pm after an hour of checking the ballots due to the closeness of the polling.

A small crowd including scrutineers and council candidates sat in the foyer of the chambers during the process.

Mr Vanstone offered no comment after the result but Mr Rohde who was in Adelaide said he planned to meet the council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Johnson tomorrow and the future councillors as soon as possible to “get something happening for the community.”

Mr Rohde was with his wife Karen at the Credit Union Christmas Pageant so their youngest son Sam, who in Year 6, could have the opportunity to see it before he got much older.

Mr Rohde said the family “thoroughly enjoyed it” and was asked whether he now had even more reason for celebration, to which he replied “absolutely”.

Speaking of the close tussle, he said “I think I have had three sets of kittens this afternoon.”

He said he had expected an indication of the result by 2pm but that was not to be.

Mr Rohde is an experienced councillor, having worked with Mr Vanstone as Deputy Mayor.

Mr Rohde said it was most important that he knew who the new councillors would be.

Early next week he hopes to gather with them to “work out some of the things we need to do and go from there”.

Mr Vanstone who waited in the council foyer during the vote checking looked sombre after the result and said he would offer comment after he had fully considered the situation.

He was consoled by council candidate Debbie Devlin who kissed him on the cheek amid the onlookers who were surprised by the outcome of the election.

A close result was predicted in online polling conducted by the Recorder before counting day.