No elected MPP from the London-Fanshawe riding has ever won the way NDP Teresa Armstrong did in the provincial election Thursday (June 12).
Armstrong won the riding for the second time in a row by taking 50.45 percent of the votes with 17,097 ballots. Behind her was Progressive Conservative Chris Robson with 23.02 percent and Liberal Marcel Marcellin with 19.86 percent.
In the 2011 election Armstrong had been the first person in the riding to get 40 percent of the votes. That milestone is way back in the rearview mirror after this election.
The polls closed at 9 p.m., by 10 p.m. London-Fanshawe had been called in Armstrong’s favour.
Armstrong was the only politician in the four London ridings to cross the 50-percent mark .
In fact, only former London West PC Chris Bentley and Elgin-Middlesex-London Liberal Steve Peters have ever crossed the 50-percent mark in a provincial election in the Forest City since 1999.
“It’s very humbling to win an election and to have that kind of support is extremely exciting, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit back and relax,” Armstrong said at the NDP victory party at the Goodwill Centre on Horton Street. “It means I have to roll up my sleeves even more and meet the expectations.”
Armstrong credited her big win at the polls to going to every door possible and touching base with voters. She said the most common things people wanted her to focus on was making life more affordable, health care that works for patients, creating jobs and holding government accountable.
This time things will be different for Armstrong as she retakes her seat in Queens Park with the Liberals winning a majority government.
“It will be a whole new experience for me to make sure that we push this government and make our constituents voices heard of what’s a priority for them,” Armstrong said.
Voter turnout was down across the province in advance polls, according to reports. That wasn’t the case for London-Fanshawe, which saw its first increase ever in an election. From 1999 to 2011 the riding saw decreases in voters, going from 39,701 to 34,255. This election saw 35,581 votes in London-Fanshawe.
“Voter apathy is more about people being disappointed, disgruntled, with the provincial campaign or what’s going on on a much larger scale then what’s happening here locally,” Marcellin said, just after the polls closed and the early numbers were coming in. “That’s part of the reason I got involved in this to sort of bring that sense of accountability back.”
Before the final results were posted, Marcellin said he would absolutely run again. Robson, who thought the final tally would produce a minority government, said he would, “probably keep a finger in it for a year or two in case there’s ever another election, heaven forbid.”