When did I realise that I might have won? I woke up and saw your tweet!

The story behind Adrian Cohen's shock win in Hampstead

Friday, 13th May — By Richard Osley

Adrian Cohen

Adrian Cohen arrives… a little later than other candidates to the election count

ADRIAN Cohen had put his head on the pillow and nodded off to the sleep. He had done his bit as a candidate in the apparently unwinnable Hampstead Town and he could wait until morning to hear from all of his colleagues who would be getting excited over their  election wins.

But almost as soon as the New Journal arrived at the count, there was speculation that Labour was doing better than expected in the ward, supposed to be one of two remaining Tory strongholds.

We tweeted about the possibility of a shock result and for the next three hours this surprise outcome hung in the background as one of the potential stories of the night.

As the counting went on, Mr Cohen seemed close, then very close, then neck and neck – and then our impeccable sources said “he’s
going to win it”.

His energetic fellow candidate Alexandra Sufit said it was unfair to say the duo had done no campaigning at all. Her conviction could be seen as she watched each paper get tallied up.

But organisers were nevertheless laughing with shock at the success of a “paper candidate” and said things like “we didn’t even put out a leaflet there”.

Adrian Cohen with council leader Georgia Gould

When his name was raised in chit chat outside the JW3 hustings in April, everybody agreed he did not stand a chance

But at the count, now the commentary had turned to “we better get him out of bed”.

Fast forward another hour and Mr Cohen, dragged from his dreams (which may or may not be about the upcoming schedule of council meetings), appeared in the hall to a mix of delirious cackles and cheering.

How did you find out you might have actually won?, the New Journal asked him.

“I woke up and saw your tweet!,” he replied, in perhaps one of the most bizarre moments of this election.

Alexandra Sufit and Adrian Cohen

Cllr Cohen had benefitted, if that’s the right word, from two of the sitting Tory councillors moving to other wards – one outside of London altogether.

His new wardmate, the Conservative councillor Stephen Stark, appeared to survive the Tory losses due to local recognition after serving two terms.

Although the Lib Dems have won seats here in the past, most recently it has been firmly a blue zone.

Cllr Cohen joked about how he had actually worked very hard.

“How did I do it?,” he said with a smile. “I think it’s the zeitgeist, I think I had the zeitgeist.“ e were getting a lot of positive feedback on the doorstep.

“People who vote Conservative were apologetic about it and said things like ‘it’s really good that there is an alternative’. They were more open to the idea up in the village than I would have initially expected.”

Perhaps, the understatement of the morning, from the first ever Labour councillor Hampstead Town.

His evenings are going to busier than he may have been expecting.

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