NDP candidate Dale Kirby spent 10 weeks on the campaign trail knocking on every door he could in order to take the district of St. John’s North.
“I feel very happy about the outcome,” said the NDP president, who is also an associate professor in MUN’s Faculty of Education. “I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Kirby defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative Bob Ridgley by almost 700 votes, with 2,595 ballots cast for Kirby and 1,905 for Ridgley. Liberal Elizabeth Scammell-Reynolds attracted 201 votes.
Kirby is the first NDP candidate to win in the district of St. John’s North and one of four candidates from his party to win a seat in the capital city, joining leader Lorraine Michael and fellow newcomers George Murphy and Gerry Rogers.
Kirby intends to fight for improvements to health care and social housing when the House of Assembly reopens in the spring, adding the province will be well-served by a strengthened opposition.
“It enables us to raise issues that are important to the general public, and I think that’s good for the people ultimately, because otherwise it’s not the democracy that the people deserve.”
Meantime, it was a quiet election night at the Tory Ropewalk Lane headquarters of Ridgley in St. John’s North.
Ridgley supporters started the night out with worried expressions on their faces and didn’t get much encouragement as the polls started to roll in.
The first few polls to be called in were close between Ridgley and Kirby, but it didn’t take long for Kirby to pull ahead in a big way at nearly all stations.
Less than an hour after the polls first opened Ridgley, flanked by several family members, attended his campaign office to thank his supporters and congratulate his opponents.
“It was a terrific, terrific, terrific support that we had, but sometimes it’s just not to be and tonight is one of those nights,” he said.