Boshcoff wins seat by healthy margin

In a race that was expected to be very tight, Liberal candidate Ken Boshcoff was able to walk away with a comfortable victory Monday night as the first MP for the new riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
According to preliminary results, Boshcoff garnered 13,769 votes, or 39.4 percent of the popular vote, besting NDP candidate John Rafferty by 3,402 votes.
Rafferty earned 29.8 percent of the vote while Conservative candidate David Leskowski took 9,314 votes (26.2 percent) to finish in third place.
Russ Aegard of the Green Party was a distant fourth with 831 votes (2.3 percent), followed by Doug Thompson of the Marijuana Party with 526 (1.5 percent) and Johannes Scheibler of the Christian Heritage Party with 260 (0.7 percent).
Boshcoff, his campaign team, and supporters watched the results come in at the DaVinci Centre in Thunder Bay on Monday night.
Early results showed a tight race, with Boshcoff and Leskowski nearly tied at around 34 percent at 10 p.m. (EDT), followed by Rafferty at 25 percent. But Boshcoff soon pulled ahead, with Leskowski and Rafferty swapping for second and third place.
The excitement at the DaVinci Centre built steadily throughout the evening, with campaign workers in their bright red shirts cheering enthusiastically whenever the polls for Thunder Bay-Rainy River were displayed on the TV screen.
By 10:30 p.m. (EDT), Boshcoff was declared the winner and members of the campaign team leaped for joy, hugged, and cried.
As Boshcoff approached the podium to give an address, his team members lifted him on their shoulders, chanting “Kenny, Kenny!”
Boshcoff himself was beaming when he took to the stage to thank his supporters. “When people care about you and want you to do well, it only makes you want to work harder,” he remarked.
“The most important thing in government is to remember the people who elected you,” he added. “I will be asking you to help set priorities, for your expertise.
“My belief in Northwestern Ontario has grown” over the course of the campaign, Boshcoff said.
The former mayor of Thunder Bay credited his success to a good campaign and a strong team.
“I have the most amazing group of people who believed in me,” he noted. “We kept true to our campaign strategy, which was to speak no evil.”
Boshcoff received a congratulatory phone call from Rafferty later in the evening. “John [Rafferty] was a very worthy competitor and an honourable candidate,” he said.
Stan Dromisky, the Liberal MP for the former riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan who had opted not to run in the new one this election, was on hand to congratulate Boshcoff on his success.
“I am so happy, I am so proud, I am so pleased,” he said to the crowd of supporters. “I’m turning the office over to Ken.
“The background he has is crucial, absolutely crucial,” Dromisky added, referring to Boshcoff’s experience in municipal politics, including holding the office of president for both the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (1999-2000) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (2002-03).
“In a very short period of time, he’s going to be one of the highlights of the Government of Canada,” Dromisky predicted.
In a brief interview following his speech, Boshcoff said he was prepared to join his fellow Liberal MPs in Ottawa to begin work in the new minority government.
“It means I’ll have to work even harder,” he noted.
Official poll by poll results from Monday night’s vote were not available as of press time, but should be released by Elections Canada on Friday.