N.W.T. votes 2015 | Yellowknifers opt for change
5 new faces and the downfall of 1 cabinet minister and 2 MLAs
Yellowknifers were in the mood for change Monday, judging from election results that will see five new faces heading to the next legislative assembly, and an end of the road for one cabinet minister and two regular MLAs.
"It was a really hard campaign," said Julie Green, who won in Yellowknife Centre, forcing two-time incumbent Robert Hawkins to concede the race.
"He's known to be a very aggressive campaigner," Green said. "In the end, people want change and that's what I felt they got."
Green said she's ready to focus on one of her campaign promises: housing first.
"I really feel that putting people into their own homes is the best idea for them and the best idea for downtown revitalization."
In the end the win was decisive, with Green taking 396 of the votes over Hawkins' 283.
In a concession note on Facebook, Hawkins appeared to take the win gracefully.
"Well folks it looks like things went a different way," he wrote. "May I wish all candidates, including Ms. Green, well going forward."
'It's shocking,' Dave Ramsay says of defeat
Early in the evening, former cabinet minister Dave Ramsay conceded to 30-year-old Kieron Testart in Kam Lake.
"Tonight is shocking and I don't know how else to put it," Ramsay told CBC.
"It's shocking like I am in a bad dream. The dream is reality and people have spoken and I respect their decision."
He says as a regular member, he was known as "a thorn in the government side."
"For the past four years I have been asking those hard questions at a different table. I think maybe that hurt me. I wasn't the advocate, the vocal guy the people grew to love. Being a cabinet minister is a different kettle of fish. Ultimately it cost me tonight."
"It has been a wonderful night of positive change," Testart said in CBC North's live blog.
"I was Kieron one day," Ramsay said. "A young guy running on a platform of change and enough people bought into it and good on him. I wish him all the best."
In Range Lake, Caroline Cochrane-Johnson, CEO for the Centre for Northern Families, beat incumbent Daryl Dolynny by just 10 votes.
"Thank you to everyone for the support," Cochrane-Johnson wrote on Facebook. "I promise I will do my best to represent the people in my neighbourhood — I am looking forward to working hard!"
But the win will trigger an automatic recount, according to N.W.T. election rules, which state that a recount is called if a candidate wins with less than two per cent of votes cast.
Kevin O'Reilly, a well-known environmentalist, won narrowly in Frame Lake.
By the end of the night, he had 156 votes, followed by Jan Fullerton's 141. David Wasylciw came in third place with 132 followed by Roy Erasmus with 117.
It was another tight race in Yellowknife North, where Cory Vanthuyne took a narrow win with 392 votes to Dan Wong's 376.
Ben Nind came in third place with 189 with Edwin Castillo and Sean Erasmus trailing.
Change, however, did not come to Great Slave or Yellowknife South.
Glen Abernethy won Great Slave by the largest margin of the night with 511 votes to Chris Clarke's 135.
In Yellowknife South, former premier Bob McLeod also won handily, with 485 votes followed by Nigit'stil Norbert with 179. Samuel Roland trailed behind with 29.