London West breaks Liberal stronghold as NDP win projected

London West has turned orange tonight after 10 years with the Liberals. CBC's Decision Desk has projected NDP candidate Peggy Sattler as the winner of the provincial byelection in London West Thursday night.

London West goes to the NDP after 10 years with Liberals

NDP candidate Peggy Sattler has won the provincial byelection in London West Thursday night, ending a decade-long Liberal run. (Peggy Sattler)

London West has turned orange tonight after 10 years with the Liberals.

CBC's Decision Desk has projected NDP candidate Peggy Sattler as the winner of the provincial byelection in London West Thursday night.

As of 11:30 p.m. ET, Sattler had received 14,811 votes, or 43 per cent, according to Elections Ontario's preliminary results. She defeated Progressive Conservative candidate Ali Chahbar, who received roughly 32 per cent of the support.

Liberal candidate Ken Coran, former president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, finished third with roughly15 per cent of the vote.

Another NDP win is projected at Windsor-Tecumseh as candidate Percy Hatfield rounded up 61 per cent of support.

Long-time Liberal MPP resigned

Six candidates were vying for the seat in London West, which became vacant after former Liberal cabinet minister Chris Bentley — who has held the seat since 2003 — resigned in February. The former energy minister faced intense scrutiny over the Liberal government’s decision to cancel gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

London West was one of five ridings holding a byelection Thursday. All five seats were up for grabs due to the departure of Liberal MPPs in recent months, including former premier Dalton McGuinty.

Sattler has been a longtime school trustee for the Thames Valley District School Board. She is also the director of a local research firm where she runs a project to connect job seekers in London with employers, according to her campaign website.

PC leader Tim Hudak spent the day in London campaigning with Chahbar. Born and raised in London, Chahbar works as a lawyer in the city. He ran against Bentley in the 2001 general election and lost.

Al Gretzky, uncle of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, also ran in the byelection as a candidate for the Freedom Party of Ontario. He received 1,408 votes, or five per cent.

The Liberals' Coran retired as teachers' union boss in June. While leading the union, he clashed with the Liberal government over Bill 115 that limited teachers' ability to strike. Pundits questioned his loyalty as he turned to the party he fought against, but Coran said there was no conflict of interest concerns.

"We had our battles with a government that no longer is the government," he told the CBC in an interview, adding that he decided to run because he identified with the Liberal Party's new approaches under Wynne.

Polls opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m. in all five ridings in Ontario. About 7,500 votes were cast in advance polls in London West.