Progressive Conservative candidate Natalie Jameson will be joining P.E.I.’s freshman class of legislators at the Coles Building.
The political newcomer won the deferred election in Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park on Monday night by a decisive margin, besting longtime city hall staffer and Liberal candidate Karen Lavers and veteran conservationist and Green candidate John Andrew.
Jameson leapt to an early lead shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m., gaining 44 per cent of advanced poll votes. The tally put her well ahead of the advance totals from Lavers, who garnered 28 per cent, and Andrew, who earned 26 per cent of the votes.
Jameson kept up the lead, winning seven out of 10 polls, and won the election with 43.7 per cent of the vote. Andrew drew 28.7 per cent of the final tally, while Lavers drew 25.7 per cent. The NDP’s Gordon Gay drew 1.9 per cent.
Jameson, a mother of two, grew up in the district. She recently returned to P.E.I. after a lengthy career in Alberta, where she worked as a marketing representative and recruiter with Obsidian Energy Ltd.
"I am definitely feeling beyond excited," Jameson told The Guardian after a speech to a crowd of supporters at the Hillsborough Park Community Centre.
"I think tomorrow, I meet with our premier, I meet with the caucus, I meet with our ministers and I just see what their plans are for me."
Jameson’s win brings a much-needed female presence to the overwhelmingly male PC caucus. Her win also represents the only presence the governing party has within the city of Charlottetown.
Premier Dennis King said Jameson’s victory represented a vote of confidence by voters in the district with his new minority government. But he also said Jameson had managed to earn the confidence of voters in the area.
"A byelection often comes down to a candidate and how they're able to connect at the doorsteps,” King said in an interview.
“She's very genuine, she's a hard-worker. And I really thought and hoped that this is the type of candidate we need in the legislature."
Dennis King on Natalie Jameson's win in District 9: "A by-election often comes down to a candidate and how they're able to connect at the doorsteps." (Sorry for the audio quality) #peipoli pic.twitter.com/voz6BxdMJB— Stuart Neatby (@stu_neatby) July 16, 2019
The deferred election represented the last remaining piece of the puzzle from this past April’s provincial election. The election was delayed in the district after Green candidate Josh Underhay died in a canoeing accident on April 19.
Sarah Stewart-Clark, the PC candidate at the time, bowed out weeks later. She said the campaign had placed a strain on her family.
This left only Lavers and the NDP’s Gordon Gay as the two candidates who had campaigned in both the general election and the deferred campaign.
Lavers may well have been the candidate to have knocked on the most doors. She told The Guardian some residents had received a visit three times.
But at a gathering of Liberal supporters at her home on Monday night, Lavers acknowledged many voters chose to side with the winner of the general election.
“We were fighting against the government in power, which is difficult,” Lavers said.
At the home of John Andrew, Green supporters munched on pizza, as they stared at a screen projected the updated results on the Elections P.E.I. website.
By 8 p.m., Andrew acknowledged the voters wanted a voice in government.
"I think there's some effect of giving the new PC government a chance," Andrew said.
"There's a feeling in the district that voting for the government party will give the district some advantage."
Both Andrew and Lavers congratulated Jameson on the campaign. They both said they planned to continue working as advocates in the districts.