Conservatives Hang on to Victory After Byelection in Safe Eastern Ontario Seat

December 4, 2018 Updated: December 4, 2018

OTTAWA—The Conservatives easily hung onto a long-time Tory fiefdom, scoring a convincing victory in a federal byelection held on Dec. 3 in eastern Ontario.

With 150 of 238 polls reporting in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Conservative candidate Michael Barrett, a municipal councillor, had racked up 59 percent of the vote.

Liberal contender Mary Jean McFall was second with 34.4 percent, while the NDP and Green contenders were bringing up the rear with 3.3 and three percent, respectively.

The riding became vacant when Conservative MP Gord Brown died in May.

Brown had been the MP since 2004.

The Conservatives have held the riding for all but 16 of the last 40 years.

Jim Jordan captured it for the Liberals in 1988 and held it for nine years. His son, Joe Jordan, was able to win the riding twice more for the Liberals, but only because the conservative vote was split between Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance.

Since the reuniting of conservative forces in 2004, the Conservatives have been pretty much invincible in the riding.

Brown took more than 50 percent of the votes in four elections, peaking at almost 61 percent in 2011.

His fifth and last election, in 2015, was his closest, with Liberal McFall nipping at his heels. Brown captured 47.4 percent of the vote to McFall’s 40.6 percent.