When the final poll results were delivered to District 26 PC headquarters, Ernie Hudson inhaled and repeated three words: “We made it.”
The results confirmed that he is the new member of the provincial legislature for District 26 Alberton-Bloomfield. He had just defeated incumbent cabinet minister Pat Murphy by 159 votes.
He then walked into another room where a group of supporters, including his 100-year-old father, Ted, were watching TV, waiting for the results to be reported there and announced, “We made it, Dad.”
Though successful in his first ever election campaign, Hudson is no stranger to politics, having worked two terms as office manager for former Egmont Conservative MP Gail Shea and then as chief of staff for the provincial PC Opposition.
“I think it gave me a great appreciation of just what is involved, as far as an elected official, what’s required, what they deal with on a daily basis,” he said. “I wasn’t going into it blind.”
He is not unfamiliar with the type of minority government the PC party will lead, because in one of Shea’s terms in Ottawa, the federal Tories had a minority government.
“It takes compromise, and I think our leader is that type of individual that he can not only bring his team together, but he can bring other ones to the table as well,” he said noting that PC Leader Dennis King wants to reach out to people.
Reflecting on the party’s slogan, “It’s About People,” Hudson said, for him, it’s about the people of Alberton-Bloomfield.
He said health care and education were concerns he heard often at the doorstep. He also heard that the electorate felt it was time for a change.
Murphy said he didn’t sense a change in mood at the doorstep, but he did acknowledge winning a fourth term is a challenge.
“You go into an election hoping to win it, but you have to expect there is a possibility you might not win it, too,” he said. “We were a Liberal government going for a fourth term, and that’s what happens.”
Murphy said he is proud of his accomplishments and accepting of the election’s outcome. “People of Alberton-Bloomfield have spoken: they want a new representative. So, they have a new representative, we have a new government and life goes on.”
He said he believes Hudson will represent the riding well.
Hudson hit the ground running, having won the district’s nomination over three other candidates the night before the election writ was dropped.
He praised his campaign team, which included the other candidates who sought the District 26 PC nomination, for their hard work on his behalf, and he acknowledged the support of the electorate.
The two other West Prince seats remained Liberal red with Robert Henderson, agriculture and fisheries minister in the last government, holding off a strong challenge from New Democrat Herb Dickieson in District 25 O’Leary-Inverness, and Hal Perry winning by over 500 votes in District 27 Tignish-Palmer Road.