Elected for the fourth time as Guelph’s MPP, and by a wide margin, Liz Sandals told a jubilant crowd of supporters Thursday night that she faced her stiffest competition in this race.
Of all four elections, “this was the one where we had the strongest candidates from all parties,” so it was a particularly hard-fought campaign, Sandals said.
The local campaign was a “fair fight” with “good debates,” she told supporters who had greeted her arrival at the Guelph Country Club with shouts of “four-peat, four-peat.”
And of all four provincial elections in which she’s been a candidate, this was the one with “the clearest choice for the future of Ontario,” she told the crowd of several dozen people. She said she was glad that voters in Guelph and the rest of Ontario chose “a positive future for the province.”
Sandals was clearly relieved that her government now has a majority. “Having sat through minority government, I’m really glad to have a majority,” she told reporters on entering the building one and a half hours after the polls closed.
Unofficial results from Elections Ontario gave Sandals 21,949 votes. She was followed by Progressive Conservative candidate Anthony MacDonald with 11,179 votes, Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph candidate Mike Schreiner at 10,181, NDP candidate James Gordon at 9,392, Juanita Burnett of the Communist party at 236 and Blair Smythe of the Libertarian party at 168 votes.
Only a small handful of supporters were at PC election night headquarters in the downtown Western Hotel to greet MacDonald.
“There are a lot of Liberals in this town,” MacDonald said, smiling.
“It’s tough to take, but you win some, you lose some. I race horses for a living. You win, you lose,” he said.
“It was a bad night to have a bad night.”
Green party supporters gathered at the Red Chevron club, and it was a buoyant crowd.
Schreiner lauded his troops for an effective campaign that included about 500 volunteers. The Green campaign doubled its fundraising target, and the campaign was fully funded, he said.
“We ‘won’ the sign battle – on the first day. We had the most signs on people’s properties,” said Schreiner.
He said his party’s fortunes dipped after the leaders’ debate, where he was not invited to take part. It was hard to regain momentum, he told his supporters.
“We could not overcome the fear . . . people were so afraid of electing (Progressive Conservative leader Tim) Hudak.”
There was another buoyant crowd at the downtown Red Papaya restaurant, where Gordon met NDP supporters.
“The people of Guelph are so supportive,” he told his troops.
Gordon said he heard some gut-wrenching stories on the campaign trail, and he believes victorious Liberal Liz Sandals heard variations of the same. He said he hopes they can work together to deal with some of these issues.
Gordon also lauded Schreiner for elevating the level of the local debate during this campaign.
For more detailed election coverage, see the June 17 edition of the Guelph Tribune.