Hastings-Lennox and Addington mirrored the provincial outcome on election night as local New Democratic Party candidate Nate Smelle placed second behind Progressive Conservative Daryl Kramp.
Unofficial closing numbers from Global News had Kramp with 22,636 votes (just over half the total votes cast) to Smelle’s 14,457 (32 per cent). Tim Rigby of the Liberals tallied 5,173 of the vote with Sari Watson of the Green earning 1,910. Lonnie Herrington of the Trillium Party had 466 with Greg Scholfield of the Ontario Libertarian Party had 362 ballots cast in his favour.
While that means Smelle’s bid to represent the riding has come to an end, the Bancroft native was pleased to see his party would form the official provincial opposition.
His campaign party staked out Napanee’s Loaf and Ale to watch the election night numbers roll in.
“I think we will be able to hold the Ford government accountable and hold them to what they say,” Smelle said of the NDP placing second. “I think we were foreseeing a different outcome but I guess Ontario’s chosen differently.”
During his campaign Smelle estimates he knocked on 10,000 doors throughout the riding to speak with residents.
“It’s really moved me to see the support that I’ve found in this riding to see that we are so close,” said Smelle. “We have a strong presence of progressive voters in Hastings Lennox and Addington. It inspires me for the next time around. We’ve got a federal election next year and I think this is a good starting point. I think we’re going to build from here and we’re only going to get stronger.”
Smelle expressed congratulations to Kramp, Rigby and Watson on their campaigns. He also expressed his concerns over newly elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“Unfortunately it looks like the majority of Ontarians chose a buck a beer over universal dental care, pharmacare and childcare,” said Smelle. “We’re in a position now where our healthcare is failing, or education, these things are failing. I’m very curious to see how the cuts promised by Mr. Ford are actually going to make things better.”
“They made a lot of promises,” Smelle said of the PCs. “I think it’s up to the people of Ontario to hold them accountable, don’t let up in the next four years. The NDP is coming for them.”