R. Comfort and P. Blancher/Leader staff
CORNWALL – Incumbent Jim McDonell has won Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, while Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford has won a majority government in Ontario.
It didn’t take long for the results to show where the election was going. Six minutes after the polls closed the PC Party was leading. By 9:15 p.m. the major TV networks were declaring a Ford majority government.
Locally, advanced polls started reporting first. McDonell took an early lead with 59.6 per cent of the vote and it kept increasing from there.
“This is great news,” said McDonell. “We have a great team. We’re looking forward to righting the wrongs. There will be a lot of relieved people when they see what is happening here.”
McDonell said he expected it, but the polls in the past have been off.
“I had a feeling this is the way it would be but was never certain.”
McDonell joins a large PC caucus at Queen’s Park, his first as an MPP with a governing party.
“When people have the chance to see [Ford] without the pressure of an election, they will see that he is very common sense and laid back. He’s not the person the other leaders have been talking about. ”
McDonell said regarding priorities for this riding, there will be meeting next week where he said he will take that opportunity to discuss SDSG.
McDonell addressed an audience of about 150 supporters.
“I am glad to see they [Liberals] are being punished for what they have done,” he said.
The unofficial results as of Friday morning, McDonell garnered 61.51 per cent of the popular vote, an over 10 per cent increase from the 2014 election.
NDP candidate Marc Benoit finished second with 21.63 per cent of voters. In comparison to 2014, the NDP did not increase the percentage of their vote. The party did receive over 1,000 more votes than it did in 2014, an indication of the increased voter turnout this election.
There was a 10 per cent increase in voter turnout this election with 43,178 voters casting their ballot. In 2014, 38,773 voters voted in SDSG.
Liberal candidate Heather Megill finished in third place with 12.37 per cent of the vote, an over 10 per cent drop in support from 2014. Green Party Elaine Kennedy had 3.67 per cent of the vote while Libertarian Sabile Trimm had 0.83 per cent of the popular vote.
Before the polls closed, Benoit told The Leader that he was happy with the campaign that he ran in SDSG.
“This was a rebuilding election for us. We are building up the NDP in SDSG,” Benoit said.
In neighbouring Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes has reelected PC Steve Clark with 60 per cent of the vote in that riding.
Around the province, PC leader Doug Ford won his riding of Etobicoke-North with 53 per cent of the vote. Meanwhile the Green Party elected their first MPP ever in Ontario, as their leader Mike Schreiner won in Guelph. Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne kept her seat in Don Valley West. NDP leader Andrea Horwath will become opposition leader, having been re-elected in Hamilton-Centre.
As of publication, the seat count stands at elected or leading:
- Progressive Conservatives: 76
- NDP: 40
- Liberals: 7*
- Green Party: 1
Results are not final.
*Note – A party must have eight seats to have retain official party status.