Nfld. & Labrador

Long Range Mountains challengers hope to keep chipping away at incumbent's support

In 2019, Liberal candidate Gudie Hutchings was re-elected, but with a steep drop in support from her 2015 victory. Three challengers are hoping to gain even more ground on election day.

Liberal candidate Gudie Hutchings saw her vote share drop in 2019. Her opponents this time sense an opening

Liberal Gudie Hutchings and Conservative Carol Anstey have their signs in seemingly every community in the Long Range Mountains riding on Newfoundland's west coast. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

As Conservative candidate Carol Anstey knocks on doors in the Long Range Mountains riding, there's a name she thinks about: Josh Eisses.

Eisses, the 2019 Conservative candidate for the riding, which spans Newfoundland's west coast from Burgeo to St. Anthony, garnered nearly 11,000 votes despite being a parachute candidate from Nova Scotia who didn't do any campaigning in the region. As a result, Liberal Gudie Hutchings, who handily won the riding in the 2015 election with 74 per cent of the vote, saw her vote share tumble to 47.4 per cent in the 2019 election.

"He did not have a campaign. He was a no-name. He was a staffer on the ballot and he got 11,000 votes. That tells me there is room and people are ready for a change and want a change," Anstey told CBC News this week.

Anstey says people in the riding are ready for change. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The candidate for the New Democratic Party, which came in third in 2019, says she's been hearing from a lot of new voters in the riding.

"I'm getting a lot of people who are excited about change in this riding, a lot of young people in this riding who are voting for the first time," said Kaila Mintz. "Some who are really active online and who are now taking it to the streets. They are not necessarily voting the way their parents voted."

NDP candidate Kaila Mintz says she's hearing from a lot of first-time voters as she knocks on doors in the riding she hopes to win. (Silver Addams/Submitted by Kaila Mintz)

People's Party of Canada candidate Darrell Shelley — the first candidate in the riding for the party, which has gone from one candidate in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2019 to six this time around — hopes to earn the vote of people unimpressed by the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Darrell Shelley, the People's Party candidate in the riding, held a media conference in Stephenville on Tuesday. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"We've canvassed 300 to 400 people so far and I would say its a 95 per cent overwhelming decision that people want to see change. They don't want to vote [Liberal Leader Justin] Trudeau and they don't trust [Conservative Leader Erin] O'Toole," said Shelley at a media conference in Stephenville on Tuesday. Shelley, originally from Stephenille, said the Liberal government is "rotten to the core."

They are not necessarily voting the way their parents voted.- Kaila Mintz

Hutchings says she's hearing something very different when she goes door to door in the riding's communities. She says she's trying to visit them all before election day, Sept. 20.

"My response in the communities I have been in is, 'Gudie, we see you, we love you, thanks for the work that you do and look forward to working with you again.'"

Hutchings, who has held the riding for six years, says she is trying to visit every community in the riding before the election. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador