Former city councillor Marty Morantz has ousted Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson and reclaimed the riding of Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia-Headingley for the Conservative Party of Canada.
"What an incredible, incredible night ... I may be speechless for the first time in my life," said MP-elect Morantz to applause at his campaign headquarters.
"I’m looking forward to spending the next number of years ... trying to bring some common sense back to Ottawa."
By deadline Monday night, Morantz had collected more than 17,000 votes with poll results still pouring in.
Morantz heads to Ottawa after spending four years as a Winnipeg city councillor, before announcing his intention to seek federal office in May 2019.
After being elected to municipal office in 2014, Morantz served on Mayor Brian Bowman’s executive policy committee, as well as chairing both the finance and infrastructure committees.
Prior to entering political life, Morantz had a long career in the private sector, spending 23 years as a partner at the law firm Levene Tadman LLP in Winnipeg.
Morantz unseats Eyolfson, a former emergency room doctor who was elected to federal office in 2015 with 52 per cent of the vote.
During his concession speech Monday, Eyolfson said he didn’t expect a loss.
"I knew it was a possibility, nothing is guaranteed," Eyolfson said. "I guess this is what the voters wanted."
Prior to Eyolfson’s victory in the 2015 election, the area had long been a Conservative stronghold.
Ex-MP Steven Fletcher spent more than a decade in the House of Commons as the Tory representative for the riding—at times serving in former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.
After being defeated in the last federal election, Fletcher then sought provincial office, serving as an MLA for the area from 2016 to 2019.
While he was elected as a MLA for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, he was later booted out of the PC Caucus, serving as an Independent before taking on the leadership of the Manitoba First Party.
In May 2019, Fletcher announced he’d seek his old federal seat for the People’s Party of Canada, the upstart party launched by another ex-Tory MP, Maxime Bernier.
Fletcher fared poorly in the riding Monday, trailing far behind both Morantz and Eyolfson in the polls.
"I’m just very grateful to have the 14 years of public service," Fletcher said, adding he ran "without illusions" in order to give voters a different choice at the ballot box.
Both Bernier and Fletcher lost their seats in the 2019 election.
- with files from Gabrielle Piche and Ryan Job
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.