Corner Brook — Just before the first poll reported, Gerry Byrne said he wasn’t sure how Monday’s election was going to go. It didn’t take long for the Liberal incumbent in Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte to feel more confidence.
The first poll showed Byrne leading Conservative party candidate Trevor Taylor by a margin of 38-11 and that trend held as Byrne cruised to victory nearly 9,600 votes ahead of Taylor.
Byrne finished with more than 57 per cent of votes in the riding, was projected the winner within half an hour after the polls closed.
“What always surprised me is the polling numbers themselves don’t always equate to what’s going to happen on election night,” he said.
Taylor, acknowledging distrust of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper in the riding, said he had hoped his experience and record as a provincial cabinet minister would help him mount a stronger challenge.
“Gerry has been in for 15 years and I haven’t been able to find anybody who can point to anything substantive he has done for the riding,” said Taylor. “Apparently, they like the fact he hugs people and gets on open line and shoots off his mouth.”
New Democratic Party candidate Shelley Senior finished third. Senior said she will seek the nomination again when the next election rolls around.
While she didn’t win, Senior was “over the moon” with how the NDP did elsewhere in the nation, particularly in Quebec where the NDP essentially wiped out the Bloc Quebecois.
Independent candidate Wayne Bennett, who finished a distant fourth, was just happy to see the big-name Conservatives like Taylor, John Ottenheimer, Loyola Sullivan and Fabian Manning — get shut out.
“I’m ecstatic that none of them won,” he said. “It shows you can’t con people in Newfoundland and break promises and not be held accountable.”
Robin Gosse who ran for the Green Party finished fifth.
Byrne said Penashue’s victory in Labrador means a likely inclusion in Stephen Harper’s cabinet. That combined with Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s support for Conservative candidates, had better translate into good things for the province.
“I will give Minister Penashue a full opportunity to prove himself and deliver for Labrador and for Newfoundland,” said Byrne. “We will expect this government to deliver on behalf of the province.”
The Western Star