NDP's Chandra Pasma could challenge PC win in Ottawa West–Nepean
Jeremy Roberts declared winner by fewer than 200 votes
Chandra Pasma, the NDP candidate in Ottawa West–Nepean, hinted Thursday she may challenge the election of Progressive Conservative Jeremy Roberts, who won the riding by fewer than 200 votes,
Just before 11:30 p.m., the crowd of PC faithful at Roberts's campaign headquarters erupted into chants and cheers as their candidate was declared the winner in the final two polls.
Roberts pulled ahead by just 175 votes over the NDP's Chandra Pasma in the final count, with incumbent Liberal candidate Bob Chiarelli coming in third.
"We were winning in areas that we hadn't won before. Chandra was winning areas she hadn't won before," Roberts said. "It was quite a remarkable election to watch and it went right down to the wire."
<a href="https://twitter.com/JR_Ottawa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jr_Ottawa</a> “we like to keep it interesting in Ottawa West Nepean . Win is first conservative win in riding in 15 year’s <a href="https://t.co/5IuibC0UBQ">pic.twitter.com/5IuibC0UBQ</a>—@JudyTrinhCBC
A contentious nomination
Roberts's road to being the PC candidate also involved reversals and a contentious race.
In 2017, he lost the party's nomination by 15 votes to Karma MacGregor.
However, her candidacy was overturned after the entire riding executive resigned en masse following reports of irregularities.
Roberts was eventually acclaimed as the PC candidate after MacGregor was barred from running again.
From cheers to tears
At Pasma's election night party at Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery, supporters wiped away tears after being on the verge of victory.
Pasma, however, did not concede defeat in her speech as she thanked supporters for their work in "a tight, close race in a riding that has never gone NDP."
"The numbers have been see-sawing back and forth all night. It looks like right now they may not be breaking in our favour but the numbers are so close we can't be sure," Pasma said.
“The numbers are so close that we can’t be sure,” says <a href="https://twitter.com/ChandraPasma?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChandraPasma</a>. NDP candidate not conceding tonight. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ONelexn?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ONelexn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCOttawa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCOttawa</a> <a href="https://t.co/XEyYQpZp0V">pic.twitter.com/XEyYQpZp0V</a>—@livchandler
Roberts said he plans to reach out to Pasma to see how they could work together.
"Both Chandra and I fought very hard to bring up the issue of senior long-term care in this riding," Roberts said. "I'd love to chat with her and see if we can find common ground."
The race wasn't tight enough to trigger an automatic recount, which happens when the margin of victory is 25 or fewer votes.
However, Pasma could apply for judicial recount, which requires a fee.
'A campaign unlike any other,' Chiarelli says
The vote split three ways, with the PCs winning 32.8 per cent of the vote, the NDP 32.5 per cent and the Liberals 29.3 per cent.
Former Ottawa mayor, regional chair and Liberal cabinet minister Bob Chiarelli lost the race after holding the seat since 2010.
"It was a campaign unlike any other. I knocked on about 350 to 400 doors yesterday, probably about 20 per cent were undecided," Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli said he didn't feel the last-minute concession of now former Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne swayed many voters either way and said the next four years would be a time for his party to rebuild.
"Let's give [the PCs] an opportunity to govern," he said. "In the meantime, as far as the Liberal party … we have to analyze our party and we have to build confidence for the next four years."
Chiarelli said he would take time to volunteer and had no interest in running in the upcoming municipal election.
With files from the CBC's Judy Trinh and Olivia Chandler