Dehn defeats Smith in Erin mayoral race

Newcomers Aylard, Ryan join incumbents Brennan and Cheyne as councillors

ERIN – Michael Dehn has defeated current councillor Rob Smith in the mayoral race in the Town of Erin.

Dehn, who lost a close mayoral race in 2018 to Allan Alls, received 1,776 votes.

Smith received 1,550 votes.

Dehn told the Advertiser he plans to get right to work, suggesting there are “deals” the town has made that may be unknown to the community.

“I’d like to know what deals have been signed, what are our obligations under these deals and what transactions can be put on hold as well,” he said.

Dehn said he will also look into recently discussed plans about buying and selling of town real-estate.


He added, “I’d like to make sure that everyone’s voice gets heard in the next four years.”

In a town-issued press release, Dehn congratulated the other winners on Monday night.

“Running for public office requires a tremendous amount of commitment to serve our residents and I thank them for it,” Dehn stated.

“I thank our residents who, not only strengthened our local democracy by voting, but have placed their trust in me and council-elect.”

Smith was not available for comment by press time.


The Town of Erin uses an at-large election for its four-councillor system, meaning the top four vote-getters are elected.

On Monday night voters decided the winners are: newcomers Cathy Aylard and Bridget Ryan, and incumbents John Brennan and Jamie Cheyne.

Total votes received by candidates, in descending order, are as follows:

  • Cathy Aylard, 2,050;
  • Bridget Ryan, 2,011;
  • John Brennan, 1,959;
  • Jamie Cheyne, 1,805;
  • Val Bush, 1,794; and
  • Kevin Johnson, 1,381.

“I will do everything I can to preserve the best of what we have and consider change that will further enhance our lives,” Aylard stated in a press release the day after the election.

“We need to have people with different voices and life experiences stepping into elected leadership roles to help govern our communities.”

Aylard added she is “excited” to be on town council and “ready to get to work to represent the residents in our villages, hamlets, and everyone in between.” 

Ryan said she felt honoured by the vote of confidence.

“We have a really good group to move forward in a progressive, collaborative way,” she said on election night.

Brennan, a veteran councillor elected to his fifth term, said, “It’s really gratifying when people put their trust in you.

“It is also humbling because the responsibility you’re taking on is not a light one.”

Cheyne also said being re-elected is humbling.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us but it’s a good team,” he said.

Reporting, turnout

A rush of last minute voters cast their ballots Monday evening just prior to the 8pm deadline, which delayed tabulation of the ballots in Erin, which was the last municipality in Wellington County to report results, just before 11:30pm.

Town clerk Lisa Campion announced the results in the council chambers after thanking town staff for their hard work during the long day.

She also thanked all the candidates for their courage and self-sacrifice to seek public office.

A 36.9 % voter turnout was higher than in surrounding municipalities, likely due to several hot button issues currently facing Erin, including population growth and the wastewater treatment plant project.

However, turnout in Erin was down slightly from 2018 (37.2%) and significantly from 2014 (46.7%).