A follow up from an earlier post on this blog about This provincial riding.
I'll be brief. Lets first examine what happened to get us here.
The NB Liberals began to goad NB NDP leader Dominic Cardy to run in the open riding of Rothesay. I'll skip going over the challenges Cardy would have to winning said riding as that's mostly covered in the earlier post. The NB PC Party then decided to join in on the fun and apply more peer pressure for Cardy to run. The problem for Cardy? He fell for it.
Cardy's decision to run has focused attention, especially for New Democrats, on the riding from across the country. Suddenly, everyone is paying attention to this bedroom community, this "nobody riding" in "nowhere New Brunswick". Cardy's major folly was his decision to run, and now he will face the consequences of being unable to win.
The Liberals likely knew exactly where they stood. The party, in 2004, claimed 380,000 members. Yes that's no type-o, 380,000 members. How do I know this? I asked. How did they manage to have over 50%+1 of the province's population as members? That's also shockingly simple. Membership was free, and, would never expire. How many of those 380K members had passed away, or, moved out of province, or, now backed another party? Likely a very large number. Regardless with the personal information (though out-dated) of 380,000 members, you can organize quite the ground team. For anyone who feels this is unfair, the PC Party at the time claimed a membership of 120,000 members (again, I asked) and also offered a lifetime membership, though at $5 a pop. In fact, since the NB and Federal Liberals share a membership list, this became an issue when the federal party decided to move to OMOV, and the NB wing decided to revert to a standard pay-per-year and expire-after-a-year system; since which they've been more stingy with the information about their membership numbers. I would presume the PC Party did the same but don't know as I've not asked.
Regardless of what "advantage" the Liberals or Tories had in ground game, the fact remains that it was Cardy who made the error of taking up the challenge and running in the by-election; a by-election he must have known he could easily lose, and one that he has lost tonight. This shows Cardy does not have the political intuition to be a real leader, and will result in pressure from within his own party. When he was elected, the NB NDP was not doing well in any measure or on any level. Today, the federal party is polling between 30%-40% in the province, thanks in part to Harper's EI changes, and now leads federally. Qualified and shrewd NB New Democrats will see this critical error made by Cardy and will, or at least should if they are smart, start lining up to replace him.
While the Tories have won the riding, the Liberals are battling it out with Cardy for 3rd. The media had expected the party to drop off the radar, but this is clearly not the case. In fact, even if the party only manages a 3rd, it will be a strong 3rd, and buttress the party against further stories of a premature death. Not only have the Tories won tonight, but the Liberals have scored an important victory as well.
At the time of writing this, of the total 32 polls in the riding, the number that have reported in is: 23
The results as they stand are as follows
PC - 1122 (Ted Fleming)
Lib - 835 (John Wilcox)
NDP - 833 (Dominic Cardy)
GRN - 49
IND - 43