CORNWALL, Ontario – Party faithful in both the local Progressive-Conservative and NDP ranks were left dumbfounded by Thursday’s night’s Liberal majority election win.
Going into the vote some polls, including one from Ipsos-Reid, suggested all three mainstream parties were in a veritable tie, but the Grits grabbed 58 seats to the Tory’s 27 and NDP 22 – setting the stage for four years of Liberal government.
“This is certainly not what we expected at all,” said Eric Duncan, local Tory MPP Jim McDonell’s campaign manager. “We thought things would be a lot closer.
“We think a lot of our supporters stayed home.”
The first victim of Thursday’s election loss for the PCs was leader Tim Hudak, who announced he would step down.
Duncan suggested it was a smart move.
“As a leader you want to keep growing your party…and we need a new person to do that,” he said.
At Jim McDonell’s victory party there was silence, followed by boos and a few four-letter words when major news outlets began predicting a Liberal majority.
Over at NDP candidate Elaine MacDonald’s office there was likewise disdain, but campaign manager Brian Lynch figured a majority was possible.
“That was my fear,” he said. “I thought we might see a Liberal minority government – many polls were saying that.
“They were all wrong.”