Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister won a byelection in the Winnipeg riding of Fort Whyte on Tuesday night, guaranteeing him a front-bench seat as opposition leader in the Manitoba legislature.
Pallister took the lead ahead of Liberal Bob Axworthy shortly after polls closed and never relinquished it. Pallister secured a total of 3,626 votes, followed by Axworthy with 2,074 votes, according to unofficial results from Elections Manitoba.
"We don't need a political party that spends money to become popular," Pallister told supporters after his victory was confirmed.
"Spending the money of children and grandchildren [who have] yet to work in this province is not the answer, it's not the way to become stronger, and we understand that. We need to become and be a political party that stands for great values."
Brandy Schmidt of the NDP received 739 votes, Donnie Benham of the Green Party had 113 votes, and Independent Darrell Ackman with 19 votes.
About 42 per cent of eligible voters in Fort Whyte cast ballots in Tuesday's byelection, according to Elections Manitoba.
Seat vacated by former PC leader
NDP Premier Greg Selinger called the byelection in the vacant seat, triggered by the resignation of former Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen, who had represented the constituency since 2005.
Pallister succeeded McFadyen as PC leader in July, after a nomination process ended with him being the only person seeking the job.
McFadyen had stepped down after disappointing results in the provincial election last fall. In that election contest last October, the NDP won 37 of the province's 57 seats, the PCs earned 19 seats, and Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard kept that party's sole seat.
Pallister, a financial analyst and former school teacher, previously served as a Manitoba MLA for Portage la Prairie from 1992 to 1997.
He left provincial politics to campaign for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1998 when he finished fourth on the first ballot with 12.5 per cent support.
He then served as a federal MP for Portage-Lisgar from 2000 to 2008, first as a member of the Canadian Alliance and then as a member of the Conservative Party following the merger of the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.