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Robert King receives Smith’s North coronation

Crowned king: Robert King wins the Smith’s North by-election for the One Bermuda Alliance (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Political newcomer Robert King was declared as the new MP for Smith’s North last night.

In a tight three-way race, the One Bermuda Alliance candidate garnered 209 votes.

Independent candidate Sir John Swan, who took 184 votes, pushed the Progressive Labour Party’s Lindsay Simmons into third place as she secured 181 votes.

Mr King said: “It’s an incredible moment.

“I’ve had an incredible team behind me supporting me, but more importantly, I have work to do now for Constituency 10.”

Asked if the support for Sir John, Bermuda’s longest-serving premier, had an effect on the OBA, Mr King replied: “Sure it did. Instead of having two, you have three strong candidates.

“It’s basically a horse race with three favourites.

“The result is as I hoped it would be, maybe a little closer than I expected, but the result was what I expected it would be.”

In total, 574 votes were cast ― significantly fewer than in the 2020 General Election when Michael Dunkley, whose resignation this year sparked the by-election, beat the PLP’s Ernest Peets by 503 votes to 324.

A breakdown of the result

Robert King, OBA: 209 votes (36.41 per cent)

Sir John Swan, independent: 184 votes (32.06 per cent)

Lindsay Simmons, PLP: 181 votes (31.53 per cent)

Total vote count: 574 (registered voters 1,275)

Figures from theParliamentary Registry website

Mr King said the result “absolutely” was good for the OBA more generally.

He added: “We had a three-person race with an independent and the people chose to go with us. We still won.

“So it’s a win for the constituency and the party benefits and Bermuda benefits.”

Mr King said: “The other thing that we have got to take away from this is, what do we need to do to continue to build trust within the electorate, [so] that they will consider us to be the better choice, as they did tonight?

“Yes, it was a close three-person race, but when was the last time we had that? I can't remember in a by-election.”

Jarion Richardson, the OBA leader, was delighted with the result, despite apparent advances on the OBA’s vote by Sir John.

He said: “Yes, we are in a fantastic position. The OBA is going from strength to strength.

“The simple fact of the matter is that Sir John is not some ‘Johnny come lately’. He’s Sir John Swan. He has an incredible legacy.”

Asked if there were ever any worries about the result, Mr Richardson admitted: “You are always thinking about the options during counts. But one thing we can definitely say is we’re just incredibly proud.

“I mean, Robert King is the candidate who was selected. He’s the candidate who worked incredibly hard.

“He represents the values and principles of the One Bermuda Alliance.”

Asked if being a midterm government whose candidate was beaten into third place by Sir John was a good result for the PLP, David Burt said: “This is a seat that the OBA won 60 per cent of the vote of in a General Election where we won 30 seats.

“Lindsay is going to continue working inside this constituency and the team is going to continue working on delivering.”

The Premier added: “When you are on the doorstep and you hear stories about persons who say that ‘my son has been working hard’, they weren't able to buy a house until we brought in a mortgage guarantee programme and they’re able to buy a house.

“When you go on the doorstep and you listen to people who are talking about the fact that they had difficulty affording going to college and then they’re grateful that the Progressive Labour Party has provided an opportunity for that.

“We’re going to keep on doing the work.

“We’ve come through a difficult period, but this particular candidate is someone who will continue to work and we look forward to winning the seat at the next General Election.”

Pressed on whether the outcome could be indicative of the vote at the next General Election, Mr Burt said: “Well, it remains to be seen, but what is indicative is the work that Lindsay has put in on the doorstep and we’re proud of the work and of what she’s achieved.”

Previous results in Smith’s North

December 2012 General Election: Michael Dunkley, OBA, won with 618 votes, beating the PLP’s Patrice Minors, who got 298

Total votes: 916, number of registered voters: 1,206

July 2017 General Election: Michael Dunkley won with 497 votes, beating the PLP’s Ernest Peets, who got 454

Total votes: 951, number of registered voters: 1,261

October 2020 General Election: Michael Dunkley won with 503 votes against Ernest Peets, who got 324

Total votes: 827, number of registered voters: 1,268

The make-up of the House of Assembly remains the same — the PLP has 30 seats and the OBA six.

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Published May 23, 2024 at 11:08 am (Updated May 24, 2024 at 11:24 am)

Robert King receives Smith’s North coronation

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