Tory David Brazil gave Premier Danny Williams a parting gift Thursday night as he handily held the district of Conception Bay East-Bell Island in a byelection.
It was also a welcome gift to Kathy Dunderdale who will be sworn in as Williams, replacement today.
The trio showed up together at Brazil’s campaign headquarters, arms held high over their heads in victory, shortly after Brazil was declared the winner.
And they were met by a crowded room of Tory MHAs and cabinet ministers, clapping, cheering and chanting, “Brazil.”
According to the unofficial election results, Brazil won with 2,621 votes to NDP candidate George Murphy’s 1037. Liberal Joy Buckle was a distant third with 298 votes.
Voter turnout was 36 per cent.
Brazil, who coaches the Bell Island hockey team in the Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League, used a hockey analogy to sum up how the victory was won.
“We had four super lines and that’s why we won this,” he said. “This is our championship.”
Brazil said he plans to stay on as coach of the team even after taking his seat in the House of Assembly.
He said the four lines — one in Paradise, one in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, one on Bell Island with the fourth being the PC party — all worked hard to make sure the seat stayed Tory.
But Brazil said there was some sadness too.
He noted a good friend and campaign organizer died half-way through the election. Not to mention the byelection was called after the death of former cabinet minister Dianne Whalen.
But he also joked about making history.
“(I’ll) have the shortest reign as an MHA under our premier and being the first MHA elected to serve under our new premier,” said Brazil to laughs and applause.
He then invited Williams and Dunderdale to address the room.
Williams continued with the sports references.
“Babe Ruth said that the way the team plays as a whole determines its success and tonight the Tory party proved that its alive and well,” he said. “To allow me to go out on a winning note is wonderful.”
“Coming in a winner sure feels good (too,)” added Dunderdale.
“I am absolutely delighted with this win tonight,” she said. “And I just said to the premier, you’re moving on, but the hockey analogies stay.”
As the trio were finishing their speeches, Murphy showed up and was invited up on stage.
“You got a fine fellow. It was a great race, it was a clean race,” Murphy said after he and Brazil shook hands.
Afterwards, Murphy spoke to reporters outside.
He said he had a victory too of sorts, considering he was a longtime Liberal before quitting the party days before the byelection call.
“I left that party for a reason,” said Murphy. “These are now the (Stephen) Harper Liberals. They’re very, very right wing.”
He said he’ll be sticking with the NDP, who he considers the credible opposition.
“The electorate told the Liberal party tonight to pack up and go home,” said Murphy.
Down the road at the Liberal campaign headquarters, the mood was much less jovial, though Buckle herself was all smiles.
She said she knew what she was up against.
“Nobody gets in this to lose,” Buckle said. ”Clearly it’s disappointing.”
But she wished Brazil the best.
“The electorate has spoken and I have to respect that,” said Buckle, who said she will likely run for the party again.