Liberals win key ridings, lose big one in eastern New Brunswick
Kevin Vickers loses, Robert Gauvin wins and the Greens return
Ridings in eastern New Brunswick featured the shock of the night amid a series of key, albeit expected, victories for the Liberals and Greens.
The Liberal Party's disappointing night was capped off with news leader Kevin Vickers lost in Miramichi, prompting his resignation from the post and sending the party into rebuilding mode.
People's Alliance candidate Michelle Conroy showed her party isn't a flash in the pan, securing the eastern riding for another term and doing so in convincing fashion.
Conroy received 3,527 votes, nearly 1,300 more than Vickers's 2,239.
Charles Barry of the PCs finished a distant third, but increased party support in Miramichi compared to 2018 with 1,508 votes. Joshua Shaddick received 398 votes, NDP Eileen Clancy Teslenko 92 and Independent Tristan Sutherland 54.
Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin
PC Jake Stewart won Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin for the fourth election in a row, blowing up a contest that was decided by 35 votes in 2018.
Alliance candidate Art O'Donnell nearly ousted Stewart two years ago, but the PC minister soundly defeated O'Donnell by more than 1,600 votes, 3,887 to 2,268.
Unheeded calls for a public inquiry into systemic racism appears to not have affected Stewart, the minister of aboriginal affairs. Premier Blaine Higgs resisted a provincial inquiry, saying it should be conducted at the federal level. Stewart, however, supported the inquiry before deciding not to talk about.
Liberal Josh McCormack won 1,760 votes and NDP Glenna Hanley took 188 votes.
Green Kevin Arseneau held Kent North for his party, defeating Liberal Bertrand LeBlanc, who previously represented the riding before Arseneau's election in 2018, by more than 1,000 votes, 4,021 to 2,933.
PC Stephen Robertson finished third with 1,363 votes and Independent candidate Roger Richard received 154 votes.
The band's back together for the Greens, who will see the same three MLAs return to the New Brunswick legislature. In one of the last ridings to be called, Megan Mitton was elected with 3,425 votes, a slight improvement over 2018.
Liberal Maxime Bourgeois led in the riding for a portion of Monday night, but ultimately fell short with 2,902 votes. PC Carole Duguay was third with 1,678 votes.
Heather Collins, who was dropped from the Alliance slate last week for offensive online comments about Muslims, received 192 votes and Independent Jefferson George Wright received 34 votes.
Liberal Lisa Harris was elected in Miramichi Bay-Neguac for the third consecutive election on Monday night. The former cabinet minister fended off PC Robert Trevors by 810 votes and 43.6 per cent of the popular vote.
Although Harris led wire-to-wire, the race was much closer than 2018. Trevors boosted the PCs vote tally by more than 1,000 votes this election, finishing with 2,751.
Meanwhile, Alliance candidate Thomas L'Huillier couldn't match his party's 24.5 per cent vote share two years ago, receiving 11 per cent with 898 votes.
Green Curtis Bartibogue received 825 votes and New Democrat Douglas Mullin received 139.
Benoit Bourque, a former Liberal minister, held Kent South for the party soon to be Official Opposition to the Tories. Bourque received 55.2 per cent of the votes en route to beating Raymond "Bou" Duplessis 5,146 to 2,817.
Duplessis managed to eat into Bourque's vote share from 2018, but still placed a distant second. It's Bourque's third straight win in the riding.
Eva Rehak of the Green Party received 994 votes, Alliance candidate Lisa Godin took 243 and NDP Sue Shedd earned 118.
Former PC deputy premier Robert Gauvin will sit with the Liberal Opposition in the next legislature as the representative for Shediac Bay-Dieppe.
Gauvin won Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou for the PCs two years ago in a rare northern New Brunswick victory, but a rift between the former minister and the party came to ahead when cuts to rural hospital services were announced (and later scrapped).
Gauvin sat as an independent until the legislative assembly was dissolved and agreed to run for the Liberals in the seat previously held by former premier Brian Gallant.
The win is no surprise as the riding is a consistent lock for the Liberals.
Gauvin's 5,839 votes nearly doubled PC Mathieu Gérald Caissie's 2,971 votes, but Caissie did improve on his party's 1,353-vote performance in 2018.
Jacques LeBlanc held Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé for the Liberals in an unsurprising result, considering the riding had never gone to another party. LeBlanc won 4,949 votes, more than double Green Gille Cormier's 2,453.
PC Marie-Paule Martin, the only other candidate running, earned 1,820 votes.
New Brunswick Votes 2020 Results: See our interactive results page.