He didn't see it coming and doesn't believe he deserved it.
Voters humiliated incumbent New Plymouth Mayor Harry Duynhoven at the polls on Saturday, booting him out after one term in favour of optician Andrew Judd.
Just as Mr Judd was surprised by the 16,883 to 7677 result, so was Mr Duynhoven.
"It was the first election of the 10 that I have been in that I didn't know what was going to happen the day before," he said.
"I didn't know whether Andrew was going to win by a mile, which is what happened of course, or I was going to win by a mile. Because the feedback I was getting was actually very good."
Bitterly disappointed by the result, the former six-time New Plymouth Labour MP is pinning some of the blame on errant councillors distracting voters from the good council had achieved under his leadership.
There is a kernel of truth in his complaint. Sherril George's Cambodian bakery boycott brain implosion followed by John McLeod's Facebook rant about council chief executive Barbara McKerrow's skirt both briefly turned the district's democracy into pure farce.
"I don't think ratepayers got the chance to see what we did. We were always dealing with sideshows. If you were a voter in New Plymouth why would you even know, for example, that you had the lowest rates increases for several years, that we had the lowest level of rates in the province, that we'd paid off debt," Mr Duynhoven said.
"Why would you know those things when there are much more exciting things like whether the chief executive wears a skirt or not."
One day after the election he was unsure what his future held, save for a holiday and tackling a list of jobs at home. He said he had no plans to leave New Plymouth or to make another run for public office.
He wasn't the only council member voters rejected.
The experienced and highly effective Phil Quinney was shown the door despite being one of the most capable councillors seeking re-election. Lance Girling-Butcher paid the price for his association with the Len Lye Centre but his absence is a backward step for representation of both the disabled and arts communities.
Having turned her back on Waitara, Sherril George was unwanted by New Plymouth voters and is out after 12 years on council.
Yesterday Mr McLeod said he had lost faith in Mr Duynhoven as a mayor after just six months but it would be a different story with Mr Judd.
"I will always work with Andrew. We have a very similar viewpoint. We are 99 per cent similar. He lets everyone have their voice."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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