Tories take resounding win in deferred N.L. vote
Sullivan's win gives PCs 44 of 48 seats in legislature
The Progressive Conservativeseasily won aseat in central Newfoundland on Tuesday night, putting another chair in an already crowded caucus room.
Tory Susan Sullivan had little difficulty winning Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans district, according to unofficial results from Elections Newfoundland and Labrador.
Withall 32 polls reporting, Sullivan had2,767 votes, well ahead ofNew Democrat Junior Downey, with922 votes, and Liberal John Woodrow, with163 votes.
"There is a lot of relief in this for me," Sullivan, who becomes the 44th Tory representative in the 48-seat house of assembly, told CBC News on Tuesday night.
"We knew that our polling was very, very strong … It's just arelief that finally that vote has translated, it's up there on the board, and it's telling us exactly what we've known for a long time."
Downey went to Sullivan's campaign office to congratulate her. He said he was pleased with the NDP's second-place performance, but disappointed that he did not pick up more union support in the district.
Voting in the district wascancelled during the campaign for the Oct. 9 general election when Liberal candidate Gerry Tobin died of a heart attack, eight days before the election.
Sullivan, the deputy mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor, had been Tobin's only rival in the original race.
She relaunched her campaign when a new date was set, and for much of the second campaign faced off against only Downey, a mill worker.
Liberal's campaign added colour, controversy
Late last week, however, the Liberals announced Woodrow as a candidate, triggering several peculiar turns in the final days of the campaign.
First,Liberal president Danny Dumaresque admitted he did not know Woodrow had accused former Liberal cabinet minister Beaton Tulk of accepting bribes. (An RCMP investigation found the claims groundless, and Tulk was reinstated.)
On Saturday, Woodrow announced he was quitting the race, furious with what he saw as a lack of support from Dumaresque and other key Liberals. But because he didn't notify Elections Newfoundland and Labrador, Woodrow's name stayed on the ballot. On Monday, Woodrow took another about-face, and said he was not only staying in the race, but was expecting to win.
Premier Danny Williams led the PCs to victory in the general election, winning 43 other seats in the legislature.
The seat had been held for the last 11 years by Liberal Anna Thistle, who retired from politics this fall.