Progressive Conservative Twila Grosse will be the next MLA for Preston, turning a long-time Liberal riding blue.

“I want to tell you something: I only prepared one speech,” Grosse told her supporters in Westphal Tuesday night.

“I am humbled and honoured. Please forgive me as I may fall short to express my emotions and gratitude for the opportunity to be elected as the MLA for the Preston riding.”

A Black woman stands at a podium. The podium says, PC Nova Scotia. Behind her is a Nova Scotia flag and a Canada flag.
Twila Grosse speaks to supporters at her campaign headquarters after winning the Preston byelection on Tuesday,. Credit: Zane Woodford

Grosse, an accountant who retired in 2020, received 1,950 votes, according to unofficial results from Elections Nova Scotia. That’s 45.22% of the vote.

NDP candidate Colter Simmons, the runner-up, received 1,145 votes, with Liberal candidate Carlo Simmons receiving 1,021.

‘And it wasn’t even close’

Speaking after Grosse, Premier Tim Houston boasted about taking the riding from the Liberals for the first time since 2003.

“We did again what they said couldn’t be done,” Houston said. “This is a 20-year Liberal seat. We flipped it blue, and it wasn’t even close.”

A white man and woman smile and wave in a flash-lit scene.
Premier Tim Houston and his wife, Carol, arrive at Twila Grosse’s campaign headquarters after winning the Preston byelection on Tuesday. Credit: Zane Woodford

Grosse said she had to run to keep up with Houston on the campaign.

“Someone remarked to me that this was the first time they could recall a premier campaigning in the Preston riding,” Grosse said.

Grosse told reporters she’ll be focused on healthcare, long-term care, and affordability as she heads to the legislature.

Two women in blue t-shirts look at their phones under an umbrella.
Supporters check election results under an umbrella outside PC candidate Twila Grosse’s campaign headquarters in Westphal on Tuesday. Credit: Zane Woodford

PC MLA and Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Barbara Adams, who served as Grosse’s campaign manager, attributed the success of the campaign to an aggressive door-knocking effort.

“We hit every doorstep at least six or seven times until they told us to stop coming around, but we didn’t, and the results show here tonight,” Adams said.

Lower turnout

Voter turnout, which is typically lower in the summer, was 38.79%. During 2021’s general election, 46.4% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

It was a controversial campaign, with the PCs and Liberals each filing complaints with Elections Nova Scotia. The Liberals complained about the PC government’s publicly-funded anti-carbon tax ads, while the PCs complained about the Liberals’ anti-landfill campaign signs.

In a tweet Tuesday night, Simmons, the Liberal candidate, wrote he was proud of his campaign.

“No matter what we were up against, me and my team chose to stand up for each and every one of the communities in the riding,” Simmons wrote.

NDP leader Claudia Chender tweeted that the results weren’t what the party had hoped for, but she was proud of the campaign.

“We’ll keep fighting,” Chender wrote.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. Wonderous how this is not an issue, the harassment of voters after they have indicated please do not come by again: “We hit every doorstep at least six or seven times until they told us to stop coming around, but we didn’t, and the results show here tonight,” Adams said. Outside of politics, would this not be illegal?

  2. Congratulations to all three contestants for this important seat. I, personally, rooted for Colter Simmons, but am almost always pleased to see an entrenched Nova Scotian seat change. The sooner we study the issues, Party commitments and cease reflecting on our fathers’ voting history, the better. Each person batted over the 1,000 vote line. Well done!