The political newcomer who ran as an independent in the North of Tyne mayoral race ‘hopes the response to his campaign won’t be overlooked’.
In a blog post published today (Thursday, May 9), John McCabe, who runs Northumberland-based Fusion PR, offers his ‘sincere congratulations to the election winner and our new Mayor, Jamie Driscoll’.
The former president of the North East England Chamber of Commerce adds: ‘The Mayor has his own mandate now, but if I can help him or his team with any of the issues I campaigned on, I’m just a phone call away.’
Mr McCabe finished third in the first round of voting, after securing 31,507 votes, and was therefore knocked out, leaving Mr Driscoll and the Tory candidate Charlie Hoult to go head-to-head in the second round.
Both secured around 14,000 second-preference votes, meaning the new Labour Mayor won comfortably, with a total margin of victory of more than 16,000 votes.
But as Mr McCabe reveals in his piece reflecting on the election, he received a large majority of electors’ second preferential votes: ‘Added together, the first and second preference boxes against my name on the ballot paper attracted more crosses than those for any other candidate.’
He writes: ‘I understood but never accepted the arguments against the new North of Tyne Combined Authority. Nor have I ever believed the Mayor would be without the powers to make a real difference to people’s lives.
‘Jamie has been handed a great opportunity to shape the future of our region and as somebody who lives and works here and with children learning here, I wish him every success.’
Mr McCabe continues: ‘My campaign was overwhelmingly positive and it was based on a manifesto that was bold yet realistic.
‘I wanted to create a fairer, greener society underpinned by a stronger economy. I was committed to creating the conditions for business growth which would see more of our people into more and better jobs.
‘I would have established the most comprehensive review of diversity, equality, social mobility and mental health ever undertaken in the UK.
‘We would have smashed the barriers to people achieving their full potential and yes, by the end of my first term in office we would have seen a mental health counsellor in every school.
‘We had plans for more affordable, sustainable housing, support for first-time buyers, improved digital connectivity and the long-overdue, game-changing investment we need in our public transport.
‘And I would have built on this first stage of devolution in our region to attract more investment, further powers and a wider reach.
‘Jamie Driscoll is indisputably the candidate with the mandate, but I hope the response to my campaign and manifesto won’t be overlooked.’
He also thanks all those who helped him and supported his campaign as well as all those who voted for him. You can read his full blog post here.
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Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service