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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.