Mom­bour­quette takes Syd­ney-Whit­ney Pier for Lib­er­als

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING

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.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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