Ablewhite tops the poll for police commissioner in head to head with Labour after UKIP and Lib Dem eliminated after round one
- Credit: Terry Harris Photography
Council leader Jason Ablewhite was tonight swapping his leadership role at Huntingdonshire District Council with the £70,000 a year job of police and crime commissioner.
He beat off his nearest rival, former fireman and Labour councillor David Baigent, in a closer than predicted head to head as second preference votes came into play.
UKIP’s Nick Clarke had the bluster, he had by far the better orchestrated social media campaign but in the end Cambridgeshire rejected him – and quite decisively.
The former county council leader and one time chairman of Cambridge Conservatives, heard of his elimination after the first round of counting and headed back home instead of being at the declaration in Soham.
East Cambridgeshire chief John Hill had co-ordinated the county wide poll and called the candidates together shortly after 5.30pm; in the event only Lib Dem Rupert Moss-Eccardt stayed to share the winners’ podium with Cllr Ablewhite.
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After round one – with no candidate securing 50 per cent of the votes- the battle lines were redrawn with the top two going through to a second round, using voters’ second choice preferences.
By the end of round one Cllr Ablewhite topped the poll with 63,614 votes and Cllr Baigent came second with 54,426. Out went Mr Clarke (29,698) and Mr Moss-Eccardt (27,884).
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When the votes for second preference candidates were taken into account Cllr Ablewhite was top with 81,851 and Cllr Baigent with 72,480.
Baigent polled heavily in Cambridge (three times the votes for him compared to Ablewhite) but fell down in the shires.
In his acceptance speech Cllr Ablewhite said it had been “the best and most positive campaign” of his career.
Shortly before taking the oath of office he thanked his “mentor”, the outgoing commissioner Sir Graham Bright, who, he said, had left him “a golden legacy”.
He offered three early priorities – tackling domestic violence, child sexual exploitation and drugs.
And he promised his supporters he had “the energy and the drive for the next four years; I am ready for the challenge”.