Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 11/25/2013 5:12 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 11/26/2013 12:44 AM | Updates
BRANDON — After waltzing to victory for most of the last 60 years in Brandon-Souris, the Conservatives stumbled into a win Monday night.
A tense night saw Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale leading by a couple hundred votes early on, but advance polls, especially rural ones, appeared to deliver Conservative Larry Maguire a last-minute victory.
With all of the 210 polls reporting, Maguire had 44.1 per cent of the vote to Dinsdale’s 42.7 per cent. Only 400 votes separated them.
"I honestly didn’t know what I’d be doing on Tuesday morning," joked Maguire. "I listened to what the people have said tonight…. We had to work really hard, and we did."
In a brief victory speech around midnight, Maguire emphasized Canada’s strong economy, the trade agreement with the European Union and Western Manitoba’s boom, themes he hammered on throughout the campaign.
The close win is likely to jar Conservatives across the country. The Conservative vote in Brandon-Souris declined by 20 points since the last federal election, when former MP Merv Tweed won nearly two-thirds of the vote.
For years, the riding has been considered one of the safest Tory seats in Canada, where a half-hearted election day effort was plenty. This time, the party had to throw everything at the Westman riding — hundreds of volunteers, negative attack ads, last-minute prime-ministerial appeals. It was just barely enough.
Maguire was stung early on by a botched nomination process and that alienated many soft Tory supporters who chafed at what they felt was meddling by party backroomers.
"This year, we decided that we would change our vote, for no good reason other than what we’ve read," said Barry Diller, a lifelong Tory who’d just voted Monday afternoon in Brandon. "I didn’t like the way the Conservatives chose their member, so we changed our vote this year."
And, the Senate spending scandal was the top issue at doorsteps from Virden to Victoria Avenue.
Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, riding a wave of national popularity, visited the riding three times and pulled big crowds and plenty of buzz.
Waves of polling by Forum Research had Dinsdale with an improbably huge lead over Maguire in the last days of the campaign, but few believed the figures. Dinsdale said the close race shows the Grits can win the next general election, that they fired a "shot across the bow" at Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"This has been a Conservative riding for a very, very long time. They had 65 per cent of the vote in the last election. We had five per cent," said Dinsdale. "So the fact that we took it down to the wire is something we can all be proud of here in this room."
Byelections are oddities, suffering from low turnout, though turnout was relatively strong in Brandon-Souris at roughly 45 per cent.
Updated on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM CST: adds details on voting
10:20 PM: Updated.
10:59 PM: Updated -- race still too close to call
12:10 AM: confirms win for Maguire
12:44 AM: rewrite with quotes
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Brian Bowman wins mayoral battle
Gilroy seizes Daniel McIntyre after close race
DNA testing will determine if accused is mother of 6 dead infants
Schreyer unseats Steen in Elmwood-East Kildonan
Dobson finds his groove in fourth election attempt
Canada won't be cowed by terrorist attack: PM
Capital-region voters send law-and-order message
Morantz edges Duncan in Charleswood-Tuxedo
Dierks Bentley gets Winnipeg’s vote
Scott Gillingham wins in St. James-Brooklands
Lukes wins boss' vacated seat in St. Norbert
Orlikow beats Taz in River Heights-Fort Garry
Bruce Henley re-elected mayor in West St. Paul
Family, friends, colleagues bid farewell to Lindor Reynolds
Pagtakhan retains Point Douglas seat
Pike new mayor in St. Andrews
Devi Sharma squeaks in win in Old Kildonan
Wyatt reinstated in Transcona
Voters stick with status quo for school boards
Winnipeg votes: Oct. 22, 2014
Mayes re-elected in St. Vital
Eadie back for second term in Mynarski
Matt Allard elected councillor in St. Boniface
Gerbasi holds down Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry
Browaty holds on to North Kildonan
Voter turnout highest in a decade
Bombers offensive line uncertain heading into must-win game against B.C.
Soldier killed in Parliament Hill siege
Expert: Autopsy doesn't show if Brown went for gun
Man, 26, killed in crash on Highway 3 between Sanford and Oak Bluff
Family: Doctors don't detect Ebola in nurse's body
Attorney says Kings' Voynov didn't hit girlfriend
Jets apply tourniquet
Senate to hear more cluster bomb testimony
Who's your mayor?
Security at Manitoba Legislature tightened after Ottawa shooting
Griddle me this
Drop by News Café on election night
Bradlee recalled as a genius, great journalist
Last chance to vote: Polls open until 8 p.m.