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Wynne wins majority government; Todd Smith wins riding

Todd Smith speaks to the media after his victory, flanked by his daughters, Payton (left) and Reagan (right). [1]

Todd Smith speaks to the media after his victory, flanked by his daughters, Payton (left) and Reagan (right).

By Greg Murphy [2], Bevan Hamilton [3], and Suzanne Coolen [4]

BELLEVILLE – Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals swept the province in last night’s election, while incumbent Conservative Todd Smith held on tight to the Prince Edward-Hastings riding.

Wynne and her Liberals dominated the province winning 59 seats, while the Progressive Conservatives won just 27 seats – less than the 37 seats they held before the election. The Ontario NDPs won more seats than they held before, an increase to 21 seats from 17 in the previous days.

The vast majority of the urban centres [5] in Ontario saw Liberal red last night. Here in the riding of Prince Edward-Hastings, incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate Todd Smith steamrolled the polls winning 19,210 votes.

At his victory party at the Belleville Club on Pinnacle Street, Smith’s supporters numbered close to 70 in a energized atmosphere. The winner himself showed shortly after 9 p.m., and just after 10 p.m. he gave his victory speech.

“It has been a long hard fight but I am happy to say that we are the winner in Prince Edward-Hastings. I would also like to congratulate my three local candidates, Georgina Thompson, Merrill Stewart, and Anita Payne,” Smith said, beginning his speech. “I’m extremely pleased to be able to continue to represent Prince Edward-Hastings in Queen’s Park and be that strong voice that got me elected in the first place.”

Smith expressed disappointment at the Liberal win.

“The status quo just wasn’t working and it’s not going to work, and that’s what is the most disappointing part to me is the results tonight…I just can’t believe it,” he said. “I’m prepared to work with my colleagues to try and get Ontario back on track and make it the great province it once was.”

Though he is personally satisfied with his win, he said he is disappointed he is losing some of his MPP friends. Next door in Northumberland-Quinte West, Liberal candidate Lou Rinaldi, beat PC Rob Milligan.

Over at Liberal candidate Georgina Thompson’s party headquarters, at 450 Dundas Street East, the tone was also buzzing with excitement. When it became obvious Thompson lost the riding, cheers could still be heard as numbers from the province-wide election poured in.

Supporters, numbered close to 20, huddled around a small computer monitor, writing the results on a chart that was made by student volunteers. Thompson arrived at her headquarters at around 9:20 in the evening. By around 10:45, Thompson addressed media over her loss to Smith.

“For me it doesn’t look great. It’s a democracy so if it goes that way, that’s ok too. I’m still happy,” she said. “I’ve run a good race. Whatever happens, let the chips fall where they may…if this is the way it goes, then all well and good.”

Though expressing her disappointment that she couldn’t join Wynne’s government, she felt ecstatic over Wynne’s majority win.

“Wynne really proved herself, she’s a great leader, she has a vision and a plan, and I’m very happy overall for everything,” said Thompson. She won 15,103 votes.

At the NDP candidate Merrill Stewart’s viewing party at the Beaufort Pub, on Dundas Street East, the atmosphere was quiet. His wife and only a handful of supporters joined Stewart.

He said he knew he wasn’t going to win.

“We weren’t kidding ourselves that we were going to overcome centuries of voting patterns in Prince Edward Hastings. But we achieved what we wanted to do and that was to build capacity in the riding association,” Stewart said. “In the end we didn’t win it but we ended up with trained volunteers and an understanding of how we can run a campaign.”

Stewart won 8,929 votes.

Not long after it was reported that Wynne had won a majority government, news broke that Hudak announced his resignation [6]. The crowd at Thompson’s Liberal party headquarters roared in delight.

Local Green party candidate Anita Payne won 2,449 votes, while Libertarian Lindsay Forbes scored 554 votes.