For Kevin Doyle, Wednesday was the culmination of ten months of work.
The owner of D&D Landscaping and Excavating won a hotly contested Liberal nomination contest in the Georgetown-Pownal district, beating local businessman Roger Crane. Party officials refused to disclose the vote tallies between the two candidates, saying only that 171 ballots were cast in total.
Privately, however, party members told the Guardian the vote was close. Both Crane and Doyle had signed up significant numbers of new members before the nomination, hoping to turn them out to vote. One party member told The Guardian that, because of individuals who were signed up by the two candidates, Liberal memberships in the district have tripled since the spring.
Wednesday’s nomination vote was attended by most sitting Liberal MLA’s, as well as Premier Wade MacLauchlan.
For Doyle, the last several months has entailed lengthy days.
“I work all day and then I’d be going until ten o’clock most nights, visiting homes and signing up members,” Doyle said.
The district is currently held by sitting PC MLA Steven Myers, who won the seat in 2014 by a margin of more than 278 votes, and in 2011 by 361. The area has been somewhat of a PC stronghold for close to 20 years.
But Doyle said recent changes to the district means the Liberal Party may have a chance at taking the district. He pointed to the areas of the northern end of the former Georgetown-St. Peters riding, north of Bridgetown up to St. Peters Bay, that are no longer in the district. Areas that had previously been in Vernon River-Stratford to the west have also been added.
“It’s not the same old district that Steven Myers represented before by any means,” Doyle said.
Doyle said he made the decision to run because he wanted to help his community. He said he first met former Liberal Premier Alex Campbell when he was 12 years old. He said he remembers being impressed by Campbell even at that age.
“He was just a kind, sincere, true gentleman,” Doyle said of Campbell.
In a speech to members, Doyle raised issues of mental health he has seen in the community. He described speaking to several farmers who have struggled with thoughts of suicide, and said he knew of several who have taken their own lives.
“It seems so sad and such a waste when there’s people who feel so alone that they can’t talk to anyone. Tragically things don’t always end well,” Doyle said in a speech to party members.
“The Liberal government is doing more than any other government in the past has done to deal with and treat mental health issues.”
Doyle will also be facing clinical psychologist Susan Hartley, who is the candidate for the Green Party, in the next election.