By Tina Comeau
Voters in the riding of West Nova have stuck with Greg Kerr.
The incumbent Conservative candidate was re-elected for a second consecutive election during the May 2 vote with a commanding lead over Liberal challenger Robert Thibault who had held the seat three times prior to the last federal election.
With all of the 223 polls reporting, Kerr had 20,206 votes and Thibault had 15,712 votes. NDP candidate George Barron had 5,631 votes and Ross Johnson of the Green Party had 1,487 votes.
At the returning office in Saulnierville on election night, the results from the polls started coming in quickly after the polls closed. The first two polls gave Thibault a small lead over Kerr, 67 votes compared 53. But beyond those first two polls the lead swayed in Kerr’s favour and stayed with Kerr throughout the evening as the poll results continued to come in.
In the early weeks of the election campaign, people expected the race between Kerr and Thibault to be a close one as it’s been in past years. But that’s not how things translated.
When the first 20 polls had reported their results, Kerr had 1,274 votes compared to Thibault’s 951 votes. By the time 25 polls had reported, Kerr’s lead started to widen over Thibault. And by 9:20 p.m. media outlets had declared Kerr re-elected.
Following his win Kerr, who watched the results in Cornwallis, said, "The voters made their choice, and I think what we sensed through the campaign – although it flipped upside down a couple of times – was that people believed in what we were trying to get done in West Nova -- nothing flashy, just sort of consistently working with communities."
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With 100 polls having reported, Kerr had 1,917 more votes than Thibault. With 200 polls reporting, Kerr’s lead over Thibault had widened by 3,922 votes. At that point Kerr had 47.1 per cent of the vote with Thibault standing at 35.9 per cent. There was little shift in those percentages throughout the night.
Interviewed by the Yarmouth Vanguard as the results were still coming in, Thibault said he had expected the race to be a tighter one, with he and Kerr only separated by around 1,000 votes. But he acknowledged that the NDP surge in the polls late in the election hurt the Liberals’ fortunes at the polls. With talk of an NDP minority government, he suspected that had a lot to do with why the Conservative vote was so strong in this riding.
Not only was the Conservative vote strong in West Nova, but across the country as well, with Stephen Harper winning a majority government – his first majority in three consecutive Conservative wins.
Election results for the West Nova riding with all 223 polls reporting:
Conservative Greg Kerr (elected): 20,206 votes, 47% of the vote
Liberal Robert Thibault: 15,712 votes, 36.5% of the vote
NDP George Barron: 5,631 votes, 13.1% of the vote
Green Ross Johnson: 1,487 votes, 3.5% of the vote