NDP Leader Earle McCurdy loses to Siobhan Coady
Party picks up two seats with Rogers, Michael
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy was defeated in his district Monday night, losing by 958 votes to Liberal Siobhan Coady.
McCurdy ended the night with 27.2 per cent of the vote in St. John's West, just slightly ahead of the incumbent, PC Dan Crummell, who finished third.
"One of the media just asked me if I had any regrets. My friends, not a single one," said McCurdy, in an emotional concession speech.
"The tide wasn't headed in the right direction for us this time. I hope nobody gets disheartened by the experience, but we will continue to build our party."
McCurdy said he wasn't going to rush into any decisions about whether to remain as party leader.
"It was quite some time ago, well before Sesame Street, that I learned to count to 10. And count to 10 is what I'm going to do now," he said.
"I'm not going to make any grand pronouncements here tonight. I think we all have some thinking to do."
McCurdy took over from Lorraine Michael as party leader in March 2015, after a caucus revolt that ended with two MHAs joining the Liberals, and Michael's eventual resignation.
He is the only party leader to lose in his own district. McCurdy has never held a seat in the House of Assembly and was running in his first campaign.
Coady has previous political experience. She was the Liberal MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl from 2008 to 2011, when she was defeated by then-New Democrat Ryan Cleary.
Rogers, Michael hang on to seats
The NDP, who won five seats in 2011, is now down to two: Gerry Rogers in St. John's Centre and Lorraine Michael in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi.
Rogers defeated Liberal Lynn Sullivan by 272 votes. Michael defeated Liberal Paul Antle by 670 votes;
Michael said it "feels really good" that the people of her district still believe in her after four elections.
"When I first ran in 2006 I ran having spent a lifetime on fighting for social justice and being a social justice activist," she said.
"I've continued to be that person, I haven't changed. And I feel really good tonight because the people in my district are saying to me that's who you are, that's who we believe in and that's what's important."
Michael said the NDP caucus worked well with McCurdy as leader in the spring, and says she hopes he stays on.
"We've shown to ourselves that we can really work with a leader outside if we have to," said Michael.
Rogers said she attributes some of the Liberal landslide to the federal Liberal success.
"One can't underestimate the federal spillover of that red tide." said Rogers, who first won her district in 2011.
Supporters, candidates thinking positively
Wayne Lucas, provincial vice president of of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said he's "grateful" the NDP won two seats and called it a good "building block."
"The government of the day had 25 billion to spend in the last 12 years. The opposition party just built on the momentum from Justin Trudeau. I think all things considered, we did fairly well," said Lucas.
"I would like to see us be government, I would like to see us be opposition, but I'll be content as a working party to fight for another day."
Well-known St. John's musician and actor Sean Panting lost his district of Mount Scio to Liberal Dale Kirby, a former New Democrat. Panting said this won't be his last election.
"This is the first of many as far as I'm concerned. The first of many," Panting said.
"My parents were always very involved politically and it's something I've always wanted to do. I wanted to wait until my kids were the right age to the point where I thought that I could handle it. I've been through it myself so I know. I think this is important, this is the most important thing you can do."