“Landslide Louis” it is, as Liberal incumbent Tim Louis was finally declared the winner in the riding of Kitchener-Conestoga on Thursday afternoon.
The outcome of the local race was delayed due to the counting of mail-in ballots. Louis led Conservative candidate Carlene Hawley by fewer than 200 votes ahead of the that count. By Thursday afternoon, Elections Canada reported the gap at 528 – the incumbent received 19,975 votes (39.2 per cent of the total), while Hawley’s total was 19,447 (38.2 per cent).
Though tight, the margin of victory actually widened over the 365-vote difference in 2019 when Louis defeated long-time Conservative incumbent Harold Albrecht. In 2015, Albrecht had edged Louis by 251 votes.
The closeness of each of his three elections had Louis joking about the “landslide” moniker.
“I must have been called ‘Landslide Louis’ five times already today,” he said Wednesday afternoon as he was keeping himself occupied by picking up election signs while the outcome remained undecided.
A decision was welcome news to Louis, more so given that it was good news.
“It’s still Monday night for me, though for everybody else it’s Thursday,” he said of being in something of a holding pattern since election day on September 20. “It’s been a long few days.”
With election mode done, he’ll now be waiting to hear when business will resume in Ottawa. He said he’s looking forward to getting back to the work that was set aside following the dissolution of Parliament, adding he sees the potential to get things done with another Liberal minority government.
“A lot can happen with a minority government. I think the voters have given us all a mandate; now is the time for the parties to work together and drive that agenda.”
For Hawley, this afternoon’s news capped her first election campaign. She called Louis at 2 p.m. this afternoon to congratulate him on the win.
“It has been a very long few days of uncertainty in waiting for the final mail-in and special ballot results. It is now clear that we lost this race by a narrow margin to Liberal incumbent Tim Louis,” she said in an emailed statement.
“It has been a tough campaign and it is a hard loss, but I hope to move forward and to continue to invest in this community anyway that I can. This isn’t a goodbye from me. The people of Kitchener-Conestoga have been so kind and encouraging. I hope to keep up many of the relationships that I made throughout this campaign.”
The Kitchener-Conestoga field was rounded out by the NDP’s Narine Dat Sookram with 5,947 (11.7 per cent), Kevin Dupuis of the People’s Party with 3,692 (7.3 per cent) and Owen Bradley of the Green Party, who received 1,842 votes (3.6 per cent).
Voter turnout in the riding was 67.8 per cent – 50,903 of the 75,079 registered voters cast ballots.