Paul Dinn and the Progressive Conservative party have scored a hat trick of byelection victories.
Dinn, who battled an undisclosed illness throughout the Topsail-Paradise byelection campaign, says it was a hard-fought campaign.
“I always talk about family. I always think family is core to this. When we’re going door to door, the issues we hear, even though they might be political like taxes and energy rates, they all come back to family,” Dinn said to a room of Tory supporters on Thursday night.
“I got to say, I’m so blessed to have such a core family here.”
Dinn becomes the eighth member of the Tory caucus in the House of Assembly.
"I always think family is core to this. When we’re going door to door, the issues we hear, even though they might be political like taxes and energy rates, they all come back to family,” — Paul Dinn
According to the unofficial results from Elections NL, Dinn took 61 per cent of the vote, Liberal candidate Patricia Hynes-Coates took 33 per cent of the vote and New Democratic Party candidate Kathleen Burt won five per cent of the vote.
Of 43 total polls counted, Dinn won all but three.
In Topsail-Paradise during the 2015 general election, the PCs took 58 per cent of the vote, the Liberals saw 36 per cent and the NDP took 4.8 per cent.
Of the 10,195 registered voters before election day, 3,603 people voted in Thursday’s byelection, for a roughly 36 per cent voter turnout. In the 2015 general election, 5,799 people voted in Topsail-Paradise. The total population of the district is roughly 14,300 people.
Since the 2015 general election, the Tories have held on to two seats and flipped Windsor Lake from Liberal to PC in September 2018.
“I was confident going door to door that there’s a groundswell of support for the PCs,” said PC Leader Ches Crosbie.
“There’s talk about a spring election. I say bring it on.”
Crosbie says the nomination process for the Tory slate going into the general election will start on Friday.
Premier Dwight Ball has repeatedly stated he intends to hold the general election in the fall.
Despite the loss, Hynes-Coates says she feels energized, looking ahead to the general election.
“It was a great journey, a great learning experience, and I can’t wait to get back out and start the campaign for the election,” she said.
“I think it was just a matter of people finding out who I was and if I was serious about being a politician. Well, I am committed.”
Ball says the almost 2-1 loss did not come as a surprise.
“The surprise tonight would have been a PC loss. They’ve held this district for quite some time,” said Ball.
“We’ve got a great campaign, a committed, strong female voice on behalf of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Trish will be working this district during the time that we give her now before we get into the general election.”
NDP candidate Kathleen Burt said she is disappointed with the result, but there are lessons the NDP can learn from the loss.
“The fact of the matter is we have a certain philosophy, which means people are first. If the province don’t want to hear that or don’t resonate with that policy, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about that,” Burt said.
“I’m not sure what you can do, strategy-wise. There’s obvious differences between our party and the Liberal and the PC party. If people are continuing to put their support behind parties that make terrible decisions for the province, I don’t know what we can do about that.”
The Progressive Conservatives have made it three straight byelection wins as Paul Dinn becomes the 8th member of the Tory caucus.
Dinn, the deputy mayor of Paradise, won the Topsail-Paradise byelection on Thursday evening, defeating Liberal candidate Patricia Hynes-Coates and NDP candidate Kathleen Burt.
If the adage is true, three is a trend for the PC party, making Thursday night’s victory a major statement heading into the 2019 general election.
While rumours are circulating about an early election call, Premier Dwight Ball has been consistent in his statement that the general election will take place in the fall, on either Oct. 8 or Nov. 25.
More to come