For the second time in two elections, Fabian Manning failed to win over the voters of Avalon.
It was a closer race than in 2008, but incumbent Liberal MP Scott Andrews held his seat in the House of Commons.
Manning, meanwhile, said he had no regrets about giving up a seat in the Senate to run in the election.
Both Manning and Andrews thanked the electorate, and said they accept the result.
“You serve at the pleasure of the people,” Andrews said. “This is truly a grassroots movement that I’ve been feeling over the last five weeks. We held our vote, we did a little better than last time, which makes me feel that I’ve done a good job here in Avalon.”
Conservative supporters gathered at a bar on the Salmonier Line, while Andrews’ people congregated at the Legion in Conception Bay South.
Each group of supporters huddled quietly around a TV to watch the results.
The race remained close throughout the evening, with Manning taking an early 400-vote lead, sustained over a number of polls.
Andrews’ supporters were anxious until a shift in momentum seemed to slowly trim Manning’s lead, eventually ending with an 1,100-vote victory for Andrews.
Speaking to reporters after his concession speech, Manning acknowledged that former premier Danny Williams’ Anything But Conservative campaign still played a role in his defeat.
Williams’ vocal attacks on Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 — saying he could not be trusted — stuck with voters.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that part of that still lingers out in the general populace,” Manning said. “We ran into that during the campaign. We didn't run into it as much as we did during the last campaign.”
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At the beginning of the election, Manning wouldn’t say whether he would accept another appointment to the Senate if defeated.
When asked by reporters Monday night, Manning still wouldn’t say.
“I just lost an election campaign. I have other opportunities that are available to me,” he said. “We’ll see what happens, but I have a tendency to land on my feet, and I don’t see a problem in doing that again.”
“This is truly a grassroots movement that I’ve been feeling over the last five weeks. We held our vote, we did a little better than last time, which makes me feel that I’ve done a good job here in Avalon.” - Scott Andrews
Manning arrived late to his election night party, after spending the evening beside his mother’s hospital bed.
She has had health problems for some time and took a turn for the worse in the evening.
“Politics is politics, but family is family, and you know, nothing comes before that,” Manning said.
Andrews also asked his supporters to keep Manning and his mother in their prayers.
In his concession speech, Manning also gave a nod to the voters, and congratulated Andrews on winning.
“To all of the people who voted for me in the riding of Avalon, I certainly, as many of you, would have liked to have a different result tonight,” Manning said. “But the fact is we live in a great country, we live in a great province. A new government will be elected across the country tonight and no blood has been spilled. We have a great democratic society that we live in and I think we need to treasure it each and every day.”