BELLEVILLE – Progressive Conservative candidate Todd Smith has officially been elected MPP for Bay of Quinte riding.
The mood at Smith’s headquarters at the Belleville Club was celebratory as the news of his win was announced.
In his victory remarks, Smith paid tribute to the workers on his campaign team, who he said had knocked on 18, 000 doors across the riding.
“We made a difference in Ontario,” he told them.
And then, to cheers and applause: “Damn it, tonight we’re going to form a government!”
“It’s been 15 years of stuff that we now have to unwind to get Ontario back on track,” he said, adding that premier-elect Doug Ford and his team will create “a province where businesses want to come and people want to live because it’s affordable to live here.”
The New Democratic Party’s Joanne Belanger was in second place, but several thousand votes behind Smith.
In an interview at the Beaufort Pub, where NDP supporters had gathered, Belanger said she felt “fantastic” about her campaign, and is glad she ran.
She called NDP leader Andrea Horwath “rock solid,” adding, “She worked hard. You just don’t know when it comes to the election what’s going to play out.
“We did everything we could do.”
Robert Quaiff of the Liberals was a fairly distant third.
Speaking at his election-night headquarters at the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Picton, Quaiff congratulated Smith, saying he considers him a personal friend: “I wish him all the best.”
But he had less kind words for the Conservative leader.
“Obviously the people of Ontario are content with Doug Ford, which I am not. I’m sincerely scared … of what Doug Ford will do.”
In an interview with QNet News, Quaiff suggested he may well return as a candidate.
“I’m very worried about a PC majority, because we campaigned on care over cuts,” he said.
Quaiff, the mayor of Prince Edward County, cited the work he and his council have done in supporting the hospitals in Picton and Trenton, and on health-care issues generally in the region.
“I’m scared to death as to what is going to happen under a PC government with Doug Ford,” he said.
“I can’t believe that the wave went blue as much as it did. If anything, I was hoping that the wave might have been a little bit oranger-red. But that didn’t happen.”
The riding was created as a result of a provincewide riding redistribution in 2015. It consists of the city of Belleville south of Highway 401, Quinte West and Prince Edward County.
Smith was MPP for the Hastings-Prince Edward riding, which disappeared with this election. (The northern portion of the former riding is now part of the new Hastings-Lennox and Addington riding .) For some time, he has served as energy critic for the Conservatives, the official opposition at Queen’s Park. He was elected to represent Prince Edward-Hastings in 2011 and re-elected in 2014.
Kramp was the federal Conservative MP for Prince Edward-Hastings from 2004 to 2015, but lost a tight race  to Liberal MP Mike Bossio in 2015 in the new federal riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington.
In Northumberland-Peterborough South riding , Liberal incumbent Lou Rinaldi  fell to Conservative David Piccini.  Rinaldi was neck and neck for second place with NDP candidate Jana Papuckoski. 
– Ludwick Chapman, Leila Nasr, Graham Whittaker, Max Setka, Beatrice Toplitsky and Max Reid contributed reporting.