Ontario election 2014: Liberals sweep Thunder Bay ridings

All three returning MPPs in Ontario's northwest nearly doubled the votes of their closest rivals.

NDP's Sarah Campbell takes Kenora-Rainy River

The NDP's Andrew Foulds congratulates Liberal Michael Gravelle on his election victory. Gravelle beat Foulds by more than 7,000 votes. (Jody Porter/CBC)

It wasn't even close. All three returning MPPs in Ontario's northwest nearly doubled the votes of their closest rivals.

The Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding was expected to be the closest race, but Liberal incumbent Bill Mauro won it handily over the NDP's Mary Kozorys.

Liberal Michael Gravelle returns as MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, beating out first-time candidate Andrew Foulds of the NDP.

Michael Gravelle declares 2014 'the best campaign ever' during his victory speech Thursday night. (Jody Porter/CBC)

In Kenora-Rainy River, the NDP's Sarah Campbell will head back to Queen's Park for a second term after she beat the PC's Randy Nickle.

"I really do love my job, it feels more like a vocation or a mission," Gravelle said as his victory was declared. "So it's really gratifying to have the kind of support that I'm having this evening."

"As it is gratifying to know that I'll be part of a government under Premier Wynne who has made it clear to all of us how important Northern Ontario is."

Mauro 'getting better' at campaigning

Both Gravelle and his Thunder Bay-Atikokan counterpart Bill Mauro were cabinet ministers in the former Wynne government.

"The campaigning, we're getting better at it and it makes a difference," Mauro said of his victory by more than 7,000 votes.

"I'm not sure how to explain the vote margin this time," he said. "I've told people all along, you know, I'd rather be respected than liked in this work and sometimes I think it takes a while for people to figure you out."

Jobs a renewed focus for Campbell

Campbell said she looks forward to her return to Queen's Park.

"I'm concerned about jobs and making sure we are on the cusp of so much positive development in Kenora-Rainy River," Campbell said.

"I want to make sure that some of these, or all of these projects come to fruition. I also want to keep a close eye on health care and make sure we don't see any further erosion," she added. 

Foulds, Kozorys plan future in politics

NDP volunteers Rick Szyja (l) and Noreen Kivi (r) hug Mary Kozorys at her campaign wrap-up Thursday night. Kozorys said the campaign was challenging because of personal issues "Serious illness and death are never easy to take at any time during one's life, but it just really... you have to balance that fine line of family and career." (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Both NDP candidates who lost in the Thunder Bay ridings say they're not through with politics yet.

Foulds said he looks forward to spending Father's Day with his sons, and then he'll be back to work as a Thunder Bay city councillor on Monday night.

He also wouldn't rule out a run for the federal NDP nomination in his riding.

"I'm not going anywhere," Foulds said. "I'm 41 years old and I am driven to serve."

Kozorys said she will "absolutely" run again.

"For me the next campaign begins tomorrow," she said.


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