PC Leader Patrick Brown wins Simcoe North byelection
Brown has more than 11,000 votes ahead of the second place candidate
Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown prevailed in the Ontario riding of Simcoe North on Thursday night.
Brown took an early lead and won comfortably with 53.7 per cent of the vote, after all 263 polls reported.
He garnered 21,103 votes, nearly 12,000 more than the second place candidate, Liberal Fred Larsen.
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Brown has been the leader of the PC party since he won the leadership on May 9. But he has been without a seat — until now — leaving him unable to face off in the legislature against Premier Kathleen Wynne.
In his acceptance speech at a golf club, he said the night marks the first step in a march toward a PC majority government.
He said it was incredible to see the riding "painted blue" throughout the campaign, adding his win shows that the people of the riding accepted a campaign of "hope over negativity".
"The Liberals spent more than they've ever spent in a riding here in Simcoe North. They had the premier visit numerous times and cabinet ministers live in this riding and tried and tried attack techniques that we've never seen in this riding before," said Brown. "And as Simcoe North, we said 'no.' We said we will support a candidate and a party that will speak about the potential of Ontario."
Brown said he can't wait to get to work to challenge Wynne, and to work with the Progressive Conservative Caucus.
Larsen, who finished with just under 24 per cent of the total vote, is a former teacher in Orillia who has lived in the riding for 40 years. New Democratic Party candidate Elizabeth Van Houtte (16.9%) and Green candidate Valerie Powell (4.6%) were also running.
Voter turnout was 40.9 per cent.
The riding covers Orillia, Midland, Penetanguishene, and the townships of Ramara, Oro-Medonte, Severn, Tay and Tiny. It also includes the Christian Island 30 reserve and the Mnjikaning First Nation.
The legislature resumes sitting on Sept. 14.