Two rural incumbents fall as PC support grows
Published Friday, October 7, 2011 1:33AM EDT
Two Liberal incumbents from outside the city of Ottawa fell on election night, part of a trend that saw Premier Dalton McGuinty's party diminished to a minority government.
Education minister Leona Dombrowsky lost her seat in Prince Edward-Hastings to Progressive Conservative candidate Todd Smith by 3,044 votes.
Smith was a former news director with Quinte Broadcasting, where he started working in 1993.
In one of the province's closest races and perhaps the Liberal's last hope for a majority mandate, Liberal Lou Rinaldi lost in Northumberland-Quinte West by 685 votes to beef farmer Rob Milligan and the PCs.
In the ridings with no incumbent, PC newcomer Jack MacLaren won Carleton-Mississippi Mills by 9,103 votes after ousting longtime Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Sterling in a local riding association meeting in March.
Sterling had held the riding for 34 years.
MacLaren, a farmer and former president of the Ontario Landowner's Association who opponents have called a "Tea Party Tory" for his far-right leanings, defeated Liberal Megan Cornell.
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry has long been Liberal, but with MPP Jim Brownell not running this year the PCs were able to take the seat with former South Glengarry Mayor Jim McDonell.
The riding swung hard towards the PCs, with McDonell winning by 13,132 votes. Brownell won the 2007 race by 3,827 votes over PC candidate Chris Savard.
North Glengarry Mayor Grant Crack was able to parlay his municipal success into a spot in the Liberal caucus, holding onto the longtime Liberal riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell by 1,344 votes over PC Marilissa Gosselin.
The last time the Progressive Conservatives won that riding was 1977.
Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington PC MPP Randy Hillier was accused of using his legislative resources to help MacLaren during the nomination process, then came under fire in September for not disclosing unpaid taxes.
He has prevailed in his riding, beating Liberal Bill MacDonald by 9,938 votes - that's 50.1 per cent of ballots cast.
Hillier won the riding in 2007 by less than 1,000 votes over Liberal Ian Wilson.
Nepean-Carleton PC incumbent Lisa MacLeod has kept her seat in Nepean-Carleton, besting Liberal challenger Don Dransfield with her nearly 25,000 votes.
MacLeod got the highest vote total of any Ontario PC candidate and any candidate in eastern Ontario with 27,173 in 2007.
PC incumbent John Yakabuski took Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke handily with support from 70.8 per cent of voters, but did so on a night which he lost a family member.
Yakabuski's campaign headquarters told CFRA that his brother-in-law died in an accident at home before 8 p.m. Thursday.
John Gerretsen was the longest-serving Mayor of Kingston between 1980 and 1988, and now has held Kingston and the Islands for the Liberals since 1995.
He will remain as representative after beating the NDP's Mary Rita Holland by around 10,000 votes, not taking the fall after his role in 2010's controversial eco fee introduction as environment minister.
That second-place finish was the only one for the NDP in these ten ridings, with PC candidate Rodger James finishing 821 votes behind Holland.
Another former mayor who moved up to provincial politics is Steve Clark, elected as Mayor of Brockville at age 22 and winner of a March 2010 by-election as a PC representative for Leeds-Grenville.
He won the riding with almost four times the number of votes as Liberal Ray Heffernan.
The Green Party finished fourth in each race.