Manitoba

Progressive Conservatives sweep all 3 Brandon seats

For the first time in history, residents in Brandon will be represented by three Progressive Conservative MLAs, as the party holds power of all three ridings now within city limits.

Len Isleifson, Reg Helwer, Cliff Cullen all re-elected to respective seats in Brandon ridings

PC Len Isleifson is congratulated by well wishers. (Riley Laychuk CBC)

For the first time in history, residents in Brandon will be represented by three Progressive Conservative MLAs, as the party holds power of all three ridings now within city limits.

Brandon has historically been represented by two ridings — Brandon East and Brandon West. However, changes to the boundaries ahead of the election put part of the city in the Spruce Woods riding. 

Brandon East

Len Isleifson will return for a second term to the legislature. It's only the second time since 1969 a PC MLA will represent Brandon East.

"I wasn't nervous coming into the room," Isleifson said, after being met at riding headquarters by dozens of jubilant supporters. 

Isleifson said he and his team knocked on every door in his riding twice since June, adding that taxes, health care and economic development were top priorities. 

"The results are proof that the hard work we're doing is paying off," he said. 

Brandon East had been held by the NDP for nearly 50 years. Len Evans represented the riding between 1969 until 1999, while Drew Caldwell was the riding's MLA for four terms, from 1999 to 2016. 

Caldwell was ultimately defeated by Isleifson in 2016, who garnered 51.3 per cent of the vote versus Caldwell's 36.2 per cent.

The NDP sought to regain the riding this time around, running Patterson, a former city councillor, in the riding. She decided not to seek a second term on city council in 2018 in order to run provincially. 

Patterson attended Isleifson's celebration after conceding. 

"I am really proud of the work that my team and I did over the campaign," she said. 

"This campaign was always about the people of Brandon East and giving the people of Brandon East a voice."

Lonnie Patterson congratulates Len Isleifson on his win. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

NDP Leader Wab Kinew made a number of appearances in the riding before and during the campaign, promising millions in new spending for new recreation and community centres in the riding, as well as promising drug detox and addictions facilities in Brandon. 

Longstreet, who ran for the Liberals, has been a vocal advocate for addictions and mental health issues in Brandon for the last several years, after revealing her son faced a serious drug addiction and was not able to find help in Brandon.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont revealed his party's addictions plan in Longstreet's riding on the same day she was announced as the candidate. 

Kim Longstreet was the Liberal candidate for Brandon East. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister also made a number of stops in Brandon through the campaign, making several promises, including a promise to open a new economic development office in Brandon. Pallister also attended a PC rally in Brandon in the final days of the campaign. 

The riding shrunk slightly ahead of the 2019 election, with the northern part of its boundary for the 2011 and 2016 elections shifting to the Spruce Woods riding. 

Brandon West

Reg Helwer will return to the legislature for a third term as the PC MLA for Brandon West. 

Helwer was first elected in 2011, replacing PC MLA Rick Borotsik, who represented the riding for one term following the 2007 election. Helwer was re-elected in 2016 by a wide margin, 69.09 per cent of the vote, defeating the NDP's Linda Ros, and Billy Moore, who ran for the Liberals. 

Nick Brown, who spent four years as the students' union president at Brandon University, ran for the NDP this year, while Sunday Frangi carried the Liberal banner. 

The riding has flipped several times between PC and NDP representation since it was created in 1969. The riding's boundary was changed ahead of the 2019 election and, as a result, voters in the area known locally as the North Hill became part of the Spruce Woods riding. 

Spruce Woods

In Spruce Woods, Cliff Cullen has been re-elected for a third term as the Progressive Conservative MLA for the riding.

Cullen is the only candidate to have previously run in the riding. Justin Shannon, a previous president of the Brandon University Students Union, carried the NDP banner, while Jennifer Harcus represented the Liberals. 

Gordon Beddome, the Green Party candidate, is the father of Manitoba Green Party Leader James Beddome. The elder Beddome farms in the riding. 

Cullen has represented the riding since its creation ahead of the 2011 election. He was first elected as the MLA for Turtle Mountain in a byelection in 2004 and elected for his first full term in 2007.

Turtle Mountain was abolished before the 2011 election and became part of the new Spruce Woods riding, however a new riding named Turtle Mountain was created in 2018 and encompasses the extreme southwestern corner of Manitoba.

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister spoke at a rally with supporters, volunteers and area candidates in Brandon late in the election campaign. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

Cullen was elected with more than two-thirds of the vote in Spruce Woods both 2011 and 2016. In the last term, Cullen was also the minister of growth, enterprise and trade and later the minister of Crown services. 

Notably, the riding's border was extended ahead of the 2019 election to include Brandon's North Hill, of which portions previously belonged to the Brandon East and West ridings. 

About the Author

Riley Laychuk is CBC's reporter based in Brandon, covering rural Manitoba. Share your story ideas, tips and feedback: riley.laychuk@cbc.ca.

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