Sarah Thomson’s slight discrepancy

Sarah Thomson’s slight discrepancy

Sarah Thomson (Image: Joey Schwartz)

First the Sun did it. Then the Post did it. And last weekend, the Star did it. Over the past month and a half, Toronto media have dutifully repeated the story that mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, to quote her bio, “came within 200 votes of winning” a seat on Hamilton’s city council in 1997. The only problem? She didn’t. The numbers don’t add up.

A quick e-mail to the Hamilton city clerk’s office reveals the 1997 results for Ward 1:

Mary Kiss: 4,560
Marvin Caplan: 4,123
Cam Nolan: 3,848
Sarah Whatmough [Thomson’s maiden name]: 3,059

And the kicker? The two candidates with the most votes got elected, which places her 1,064 votes away from winning, not 200. She came fourth. Out of four. In a race where two people win.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Thomson told us that the candidate “obviously didn’t remember [the results] correctly” and thanked us for digging them up.

Thomson likes to portray herself as an outsider uncorrupted by the rot that’s set in at city hall. “I am not a politician,” her Web site proudly declares. Perhaps not, but to us, it sounds like she’s learning quickly.

• Sarah Thomson’s official bio
Woman enters mayoral race [National Post]
Sarah Thomson — fringe or force? [Toronto Sun]
Lone woman runs in race for mayor’s chair [Toronto Star]

*UPDATE: The bio on Sarah Thomson’s Web site has been changed from claiming that she “came within 200 votes of winning” the Hamilton seat to “at the age of 28 she ran for city council in Hamilton had a great experience but lost.” Luckily, we have this original screen grab: