Fundy Royal flips for just second time in a century
Alaina Lockhart defeats Rob Moore to take Conservative stronghold of Fundy Royal
Liberal Alaina Lockhart beat Conservative Rob Moore on Monday in the riding of Fundy Royal and seized what has been a Conservative stronghold riding since 1917.
The only other Liberal win there was with Paul Zed in 1993 when Kim Campbell's Progressive Conservatives were reduced to only two seats across Canada.
In a wrap-around riding that touches the outskirts of the more urban-based ridings of Fredericton, Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe and Saint John Rothesay, the rural New Brunswick voters of Fundy Royal have reliably cast their ballots for the Tories time after time.
Defeated incumbent Rob Moore, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency minister in Stephen Harper's government, stopped by Lockhart's campaign party to wish her well.
Lockhart, standing in a loud, crowded Smitty's Restaurant on Main Street in Sussex, could not stop smiling while speaking with CBC News.
"There's lots of work to be done here and we have lots of potential here and I'm excited to represent the area in Ottawa," said Lockhart.
Lockhart has sold wedding gowns in the town of Sussex since 2004 in her shop — also on Main Street — Lockhart's Wedding & Special Occasions.
Lockhart said taking the riding was something she and her team believed in — with caution.
"I think everybody was very realistic about what the history of this riding was and it took a tremendous amount of hard work and hope," she said.
"There were a lot of people behind me that really did feel that we had an opportunity here and believed and worked really hard over the last several months."
Those believers included Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who made a stop in the riding Oct. 7, showing the party thought there was a real chance voters were looking for a change.
In an interview with CBC News during the campaign, Lockhart said she was appealing to the middle class.
"That's the majority of Fundy Royal," said Lockhart. "People working everyday to make ends meet."
"The fact that we have a national campaign focused on strengthening the middle class to put more money in their pockets to then stimulate the economy, I'm encouraged by that," she said.
Standing in Smitty's but poised to take her seat in Ottawa, Lockhart reiterated her enthusiasm.
"I'm tremendously excited. This is an opportunity for our area for Atlantic Canada and for Fundy Royal," she said.