The NDP's Percy Hatfield won the byelection in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh in landslide fashion Thursday night, CBC News projects.
Seven candidates were fighting to fill a seat made vacant when former Liberal Finance Minister Dwight Duncan retired earlier this year.
The riding was the first of five to be declared Thursday night. Hatfield He received more than 60 per cent of the popular vote.
Hatfield received 15,693 votes; the PC's Robert de Verteuil got 5,149; Liberal Jeewen Gill received 3,057; while the Green Party's Adam Wright got 934.
"It was a long haul. It was a lot of work. It was unbelievable to see that kind of support. It’s pretty humbling," Hatfield said.
Libertarian Dan Dominator(398), Family Coalition Party candidate Lee Watson (241) and Andrew Brannan of the Freedom Party (124) rounded out the race.
Prior to Hatfield arriving at his victory party at Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 255, Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak said he was "overjoyed" by the win.
"I’m incredibly excited," Natyshak said.
He called Hatfield "my Brian Masse to Joe Comartin," referring to the Windsor West and Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MPs.
"We’ve talked about various issues this region faces," Natyshak said of Hatfield. "It’ll be great to have an additional[NDP] voice in the legislature."
Duncan had been an MPP since 1995 and won five consecutive elections.
NDP leader, Andrea Horwath was on hand for the celebration in Windsor.
"The man who has brought Windsor back to the NDP family, Percy Hatfield. Percy has been a force in this community and you all know it," she said. "Percy is going to shake things up at Queen's Park and I think we need that."
Comartin called the result "a total collapse of the Liberal organization in Windsor-Tecumseh."
"I was surprised by the extent of the Liberal collapse," he said. "It’s a changing of the guard, there’s no question about that."
Liberals, PCs concede
Progressive Conservative candidate Robert de Verteuil conceded Hatfield's win less than an hour after the polls closed.
"I guess congratulations are in order for Percy Hatfield," he said.
De Verteuil was pleased with his own campaign, though. He said he improved his base and can build upon it if he decides to run in the next general election.
"This was certainly a testament against the Liberal government," de Verteuil said. "We’ve placed ourselves as a second-place party. We’re a party on the rise. The PC Party is the party of the future here."
De Verteuil said the next general election "can't come soon enough."
"With the strides we’ve made I think we’ll see a PC victory in Windsor-Tecumseh," he said.
Jeewen Gill's Liberal camp was left disappointed.
"At the end of the day whenever you lose a seat it is a disappointment but you accept what the electorate has spoken and terms of the result at the end of the day," said Windsor-West Liberal MP Teresa Piruzza prior to Gill arriving at his victory party at the Serbian Centre.
Expert says result was 'expected'
University of Windsor political professor Lydia Miljan said the landslide win was "completely expected."
"Percy was the only candidate with strong name recognition. He was the only one with experience and name recognition," she said.
Miljan called the Windsor-Tecumseh Liberals "a mess" but said the Conservatives had a strong candidate in de Verteuil. However, she said Hatfield will now likely be tough to beat in a general election.
"I think it’s almost an insurmountable task to take back that seat as long as Percy wants to hold onto it," Miljan said.
Advance turnout 'flat'
Chief returning officer James Evans described advanced voting in the Windsor-Tecumseh byelection as "flat" when compared to advanced voting in the 2011 general election.
Evans said that's good considering the circumstances.
Byelections typically draw few voters. Summertime elections also affect voter turnout. And this year, there were only six days of advanced voting compared to 10 days in the 2011 election.
"On a percentage basis, it's the same," Evans said of advanced numbers. "They were strong, to the extent that the pattern was consistent. There wasn’t a shortfall, if you will."
Throughout the campaign, opposition candidates worried an August election would hurt voter turnout.
"It's always a challenge in the middle of the summer because people have other things to do; other things on their minds," Hatfield said. "We'll have to wait and see what happens tonight."
Windsor-Tecumseh has approximately 85,000 registered voters eligible to vote at one of 83 polls today. About 3,500 votes were cast in the advanced polls. Evans said slightly more than 42 per cent voted in 2011.