Mombourquette takes Sydney-Whitney Pier for Liberals
After losing to a popular incumbent during the last provincial general election, Derek Mombourquette never thought he would get the chance to challenge for the riding of Sydney-Whitney Pier again.
But in Tuesday’s byelection he did, claiming the riding for the governing Liberals, receiving 49 per cent of votes cast, besting closest challenger, the NDP’s Madonna Doucette, by 1,462 votes. The Progressive Conservative’s Brian MacArthur placed third with 1,609 votes.
“Being here tonight, it’s pretty awesome,” Mombourquette said.
“We had three great campaigns — I couldn’t predict what was going to happen. All three candidates had exceptional teams, they were on the ground, they were working extremely hard.”
Voter turnout in the riding was 42.6 per cent.
A former Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor and co-ordinator at the Island Sandbox, Mombourquette admitted the win was taking a little to sink in.
“I’ve been on both sides of it ... I never thought I’d have another chance to do this and the party rallied around me from Day 1, we had a great turnout for our nomination in Sydney-Whitney Pier and once the writ was dropped the team came together.”
As for what he learned from that first unsuccessful provincial campaign in 2013 against the NDP’s Gordie Gosse, Mombourquette said it was that he has big shoes to fill.
“Gordie Gosse was a community champion. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I know the job he did. I heard the stories this time around knocking doors ... I’ve learned that you have to look after your constituents — they come first.”
Doucette caused some tense moments at Mombourquette’s headquarters as some early results had her close.
As polls continued to report, the crowd at Mombourquette’s headquarters grew and cheered results increasingly loudly.
“We were confident that our plan was going to work, to get that vote out early,” Mombourquette said.
He complimented both Doucette and MacArthur on their campaigns, calling them community leaders.
Doucette spent the day trying to get out the vote and knocking on doors before arriving back at her campaign headquarters to wait for results to come in — and to have one of her mother’s orange- cranberry muffins. She called her first political campaign an amazing experience.
“I’ve learned so much, it’s been exciting, people have been providing great leadership during this experience,” she said. “I think I got a little extra special experience because so many people at the doorstep poured out love stories about Gordie Gosse.
“I’ve learned more about who our community is … I know that they’re all feeling the same kind of love and passion for this island and it was really a unifying and sort of inspiring experience.”
It was MacArthur’s first political campaign and he said it was a learning experience, not only for him but also for his wife and their two daughters. Leading up to polls closing, he was at home with his family and a few close campaign supporters.
Throughout the day, he and his campaign workers did their best to get supporters out to vote.
“For me personally it was a tremendous experience. We met lots and lots of people at the doorsteps and for me it was a real positive experience,” MacArthur said.
He especially thanked his family, calling it a team effort.
Derek Mombourquette celebrates his win for the provincial Liberals in Tuesday’s Sydney-Whitney Pier byelection with his wife Stephanie Kennedy and daughter Emilie. In his second campaign at the provincial level, Mombourquette bested his nearest rival, the NDP’s Madonna Doucette, by 1,462 votes. The PC’s Brian MacArthur placed third with 1,609 votes.
Former Cape Breton South Liberal MLA Manning MacDonald high-fives the NDP’s Madonna Doucette following Liberal Derek Mombourquette’s decisive byelection win in Sydney-Whitney Pier on Tuesday evening at his Sydney headquarters.