Ted Falk celebrates victory in Provencher byelection
The Conservatives are celebrating a victory in Manitoba's Provencher riding on Monday night, after Ted Falk was elected as the area's new member of Parliament.
With all polls reporting, Falk secured just over 58 per cent of the vote, with Liberal Terry Hayward in second place with almost 30 per cent, according to unofficial results from Elections Canada.
At around 9:30 p.m., Falk arrived at the legion in Steinbach, Man., to deliver his victory speech, in which he thanked God, his wife, his campaign manager and volunteers.
"I want to thank my heavenly father and Jesus Christ, my saviour, for giving me this opportunity," he said to applause from the crowd.
Falk later told reporters the biggest issue he heard about from voters was the Senate expenses scandal, adding that he supports the idea of an elected Senate.
He said he's not sure when he'll be going to Ottawa, but his first order of business there will be to find an apartment.
Falk succeeds former cabinet minister Vic Toews, who retired from politics in July after almost 13 years as the area's MP.
Toews, who came to the legion on Monday night, said he's happy Falk won the seat and he believes this is the result he expected.
Liberal candidate not disappointed
Falk was running against Hayward, Natalie Courcelles Beaudry of the NDP and Janine Gibson of the Green Party.
Hayward told CBC News that while he would have liked to be Ottawa-bound, he is not disappointed with the result and he looks forward to running again in the 2015 general election.
"We worked hard to be Provencher's voice in Ottawa, as opposed to Ottawa's voice in Provencher," Hayward wrote in a statement.
"Tonight's result may have not been what we were hoping for, however we will continue to work hard and engage Canadians striving for a better Canada."
Hayward said he's happy to have boosted the Liberals' share of the vote in Provencher by approximately 20 per cent.
The campaign leading up to Monday's vote was relatively quiet compared to Manitoba's other byelection race in Brandon-Souris.
Kept low profile
For the most part, Falk kept a low profile. He did not participate in two of the all-candidate debates that went ahead, while a third debate had to be cancelled because it did not fit in with his schedule. As well, he conducted few media interviews.
While his opponents have accused Falk of hiding, he said he was busy getting the message out to voters.
Keeping a low profile is a classic front-runner strategy, said Royce Koop, a political scientist at the University of Manitoba.
"When you know that you're winning, you want to minimize exposure to ensure that you don't make any mistakes, you don't mess up, you don't say anything that's controversial," he said.
"The goal is to preserve the lead. So in this case, Mr. Falk knew that he was in the lead and he did everything possible to hold onto it, and it was successful for him."