JOHN Hardy, the chairman of Halifax Conservative Association, today became a Calderdale councillor for the third time.
He won the Skircoat ward by-election just after midnight with a majority of 118 votes over Liberal Democrat rival Pauline Nash.
Councillor Hardy represented the Warley ward from 1992-96 and again from 2003-2004.
He was defending the Skircoat seat left vacant by the sudden death of Geoffrey Wainwright.
Councillor Hardy said it had been a difficult election for the Conservatives and there had been a lot of tactical voting.
It coincided with the delivery of wheelie bins, the Kerbside recycling campaign and pressure from groups concerned about the future of the central library.
But the result leaves the political balance on the council unchanged with the Conservatives on 21 seats, Liberal Democrats 16, Labour 8, Independents 4, English Democrats 1 and British National Party 1.
Seldom has a by-election been so keenly fought with seven candidates including rival Independents threatening to upset the apple cart.
Only a handful of votes separated Labour, the Independents and the British National Party.
Paul Brannigan was standing as an Independent to draw attention to the plight of Kerbside Calderdale.
"Everyone who took part was supportive of Kerbside and I look forward to working with the winner to help ensure its survival," he said.
The other Independent candidate, greengrocer Philip Crossley, stood because he said he was fed up of politicians failing to recognise key issues like parking provision.
"I feel it has been very worthwhile - it sent a message to the council that they can't ignore people and I think I have achieved something," he said.
Vivienne Smith for the Green Party was bottom of the poll with 92 votes.
The turnout was 38 per cent.
John Hardy (Con) 1,327
Pauline Nash (Lib-Dem) 1,209
Anne Collins (Lab) 274
Paul Brannigan (Ind) 238
Chris Godridge (BNP) 235
Philip Crossley (Ind) 229
Vivienne Smith (Green) 92