True Grits in Cape Breton
Wilton wins in Cape Breton Centre
“Politics is a hard game and three candidates put their best foot forward and I was the lucky one this time.”
The second time was the charm for Liberal Dave Wilton.
The 47-year-old New Waterford businessman won the right to represent the riding of Cape Breton Centre, garnering 49 per cent of the vote in a byelection Tuesday night. His victory comes two years after he came a close second to incumbent Frank Corbett in the 2013 election.
This time around — in the race to replace Corbett, who resigned earlier this year — Wilton came out on top with 3,060 votes, compared to 2,538 for NDP’s Tammy Martin and 644 for Progressive Conservative candidate Edna Lee. After losing by 158 votes in 2013, his margin of victory Tuesday stood at 522 votes.
“It feels really good,” Wilton told reporters moments after entering his victory party at the New Waterford legion. “Politics is a hard game and three candidates put their best foot forward and I was the lucky one this time.”
Wilton also thanked everyone who contributed to his campaign.
“My family and all of my supporters, they stuck by me from the last election and they just grew from the last election being so close,” he said. “Without their support you just can’t win something like this.”
Wilton said he’s eager to get Halifax and begin working for his constituents. When asked about his priorities as he heads to the provincial legislature, Wilton identified two key issues.
“Health care is a big issue for us here in Cape Breton Centre, and jobs ... that’s my focal point, being a businessman, that’s what I want to do, I want to grow the economy here,” he said. “I want to grow the community as much as I can.”
Wilton also pledged to support and assist his constituents in whatever issues are of concern to them.
Just up the street, Martin, a first- time candidate, was meeting with her supporters after the final results came in for the riding.
“I’m disappointed, of course, that we didn’t win, but I’m so proud of my team, and my first time running I think we’ve done an amazing job,” she said. “We went out knowing that we did everything we could and the voters made their decision and that’s fine and we’re satisfied with that.”
Martin believes she’s built a great foundation for the next election and plans to run again.
“When the next general election is called my name will be on the NDP ballot,” she said.
Running for the second time for the PC party, Lee said she’s proud to be part of leader Jamie Baillie’s team. She said she enjoyed running in this campaign and having the chance to meet with people throughout the riding once again.
“It’s up to the people, and of course I respect what they decide,” she said, expressing her congratulations to Wilton on his win.
Voter turnout in Cape Breton Centre was 47 per cent, with a total of 6,242 ballots cast.
Cape Breton Centre includes the town of New Waterford, as well as Reserve Mines and a part of the town of Dominion.
In 2012, when provincial electoral boundaries were redrawn, the riding expanded southwest toward Sydney to include South Bar, Lingan Road and part of Grand Lake Road areas from the former Cape Breton Nova.
Up until Tuesday night, Corbett, a former deputy premier, had held the riding for the NDP since 1998.
Liberal Dave Wilton was all smiles Tuesday as he made his way into the New Waterford legion to greet his family, friends and supporters, including his sister Cathy Wilton. Wilton won by 522 votes over NDP candidate Tammy Martin.
Dorothy MacDonald had the job of posting poll results at the election night headquarters of Liberal Dave Wilton on Tuesday evening.