New Brunswick

2 Conservatives retake the N.B. seats they lost in 2015

Two out of three former Conservative MPs who campaigned to regain their old New Brunswick seats Monday night will be returning to Parliament.

Former Tory MP Rodney Weston has 'no regrets' after 2nd loss to Liberal Wayne Long in Saint John-Rothesay

From left, Conservative candidates Rodney Weston, Rob Moore and John Williamson were vying to retake the federal seats they held prior to the Liberal wave in New Brunswick four years ago. Two succeeded. (CBC)

Two out of three former Conservative MPs who campaigned to regain their old New Brunswick seats Monday night will be returning to Parliament.

Rob Moore, a former cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, returned Fundy Royal to the Conservatives, defeating Liberal incumbent Alaina Lockhart by more than 8,000 votes. 

In New Brunswick Southwest, John Williamson took back his seat from Liberal Karen Ludwig, winning almost twice as many votes as she did.

But the streak for the former MPs came to a halt when Tory Rodney Weston was defeated by Wayne Long for the second time in the riding of Saint John-Rothesay.

After his Monday night loss, Weston had a few laughs and came close to a few tears, thanking those who supported him during his campaign.

In the end, Weston said he had "no regrets" about the campaign. 

The former Conservative MPs lost to the Liberals in 2015 in what were considered safe ridings for Conservatives, helping Justin Trudeau win all 10 New Brunswick seats.

On Monday, the province's electoral map changed again, with the election of at least one other Conservative and a Green, along with five Liberals and the two former Tory MPs.

In Miramichi-Grand Lake, Liberal Pat Finnigan and Conservative Peggy McLean were still in a tight race into the early morning.

A missed opportunity 

Weston said he isn't sure why he lost the election this time around.

As he knocked on doors and talked to voters in Saint John-Rothesay, Weston said, he felt confident.

"People were talking about the current government, and there was frustration with the current government," he said. "I thought, 'OK, there's an opportunity here.'"

Long beat Weston by about 1,200 votes. 

Weston said he was glad to see the close races between Liberals and the Conservatives.

"The Trudeau government should take heed of that," he said. "If they want to maintain office, obviously they've got to do some analysis to understand why their margin slipped like it did."

'Nothing but respect'

Weston congratulated Long outside his headquarters at O'Leary's Pub in Saint John, telling the Liberal he knows he'll look after the riding.

"I have nothing but respect for Rodney Weston," Long said afterward.

He said Weston represented the riding as best he could, but people in Saint John-Rothesay needed a different style of representation.  

"Someone that would go to Ottawa with a plan. Not just to knock on doors but to kick down doors. And bring federal attention and funding to a riding I feel that was starved to federal attention and money for years."

Long vowed to be aggressive, loud and speak often on behalf of Saint John-Rothesay in the House of Commons.

"I am always going to do what's best for this riding. I'm always going to represent this riding."

About the Author

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from Jacques Poitras

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