Independent candidate David Fraser is elected to represent the vacant Highland Council seat of Aird and Loch Ness
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Independent candidate David Fraser has been elected to represent the Aird and Loch Ness ward on the narrowest of margins.
The newly minted Councillor Fraser won the first round with 997 votes ahead of Gordon Shanks of the SNP on 994 – a margin of just three votes.
Other candidates then began to be eliminated with their votes going to those still in the contest before the winner was declared.
After that first stage the Conservatives Gavin Berkenheger got 824; followed by Martin Robertson of the Lib Dems (300); the Greens Ryan MacKintosh polled at 272 and Labour’s Bill Moore got 133 votes.
Cllr Fraser will now take up his seat alongside the three other councillors representing the ward – Helen Carmichael (Independent), Margaret Davidson (Independent) and Emma Knox (Scottish National Party).
Speaking after the result, Cllr Fraser said: “I am obviously delighted to have been elected to represent the ward.
"It is a tremendous honour, so my thanks to everybody for that.
“Yes, it was very very close right to the end, there were a number of good candidates in the field and I eventually got more votes.
“I think people were raising good topics throughout the campaign and voters were clearly attracted to that.
“It was a pretty impressive turnout during a pandemic and for a by-election, visually there was little to show there was an election.
"But people made the effort to go out and vote – about half did a postal vote and half went to the polling station.”