Joe Preston has a new lease on his political life.
The former conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London has unseated incumbent Heather Jackson to become the next mayor of St. Thomas.
“I’m elated!” Preston declared following his victory.
“There’s a bit of pressure now that I have the job, but I’m elated that the extra work we went through to do this has paid off, and the citizens of St. Thomas have accepted me again. This is really quite special.”
Though the results are technically unofficial, Preston earned 3,731 votes while two-term mayor Jackson trailed with 3,189 votes with all polls reporting.
City councillor Stephen Wookey followed close behind Jackson with over 2,949 votes, while musician Malichi Malé trailed in last place with just 338 votes.
“I’m going to be just about everywhere and I’m hard to miss, and I think that’s what local politics is all about,” Preston said at the the Roadhouse Bar and Grill where he celebrated his victory with supporters on Monday night.
“I ran on a kind of a platform of being the greatest cheerleader of St. Thomas.”
Preston, 63, represented St. Thomas for four terms and 11 years as an MP in Stephen Harper’s government.
Preston kept busy after retiring from federal politics in 2015. He co-founded Living Alive Granola soon after leaving politics and saw quick success. The granola made with ingredients from local farms has spread to a number of local supermarkets. He stayed active in politics, in 2016 he was elected to the federal Conservatives’ National Council.
He also owns and operates a Wendy’s and Boston Pizza in St. Thomas. The local business owner is well known for being active in community and charity endeavours. He has volunteered with the United Way and the Great Lakes International Air Show and has worked with the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and Farmtown Canada.
With files from 980 CFPL’s Andrew Graham.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.