PC Leader Dennis King’s first words to his supporters after winning were to ask forgiveness for being a little excited.
“We’ve been through a lot of these where they don’t end this way, so for one second let us drink this up,” he said.
King walked into the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel Tuesday night to cheers as hundreds of party supporters gathered for a victory party after the Progressive Conservatives won 12 seats in the provincial election.
That gave King and the PCs a minority in the legislature, but for the party faithful gathered at the hotel it was being treated as a victory.
As he stood at the podium with his family gathered behind him, King thanked everyone who worked to help him win his seat in District 15 Brackley-Hunter River.
“It’s the most humbling thing that has ever happened to me,” he said.
District 15 Brackley-Hunter River results
- Green – Greg Bradley: 879
- NDP – LeahJane Hayward: 57
- PC – Dennis King: 1,315
- Liberal Windsor Wight: 899
The road to victory started when King entered the PC leadership, which he won in February by more than 1,200 votes over his closest rival, Allan Dale.
He took over the leadership facing an uphill battle after the Progressive Conservatives had struggled to gain traction through a series of leaders, including one who failed to win his seat in the 2015 general election.
The last poll from Corporate Research Associates (now known as Narrative Research) before the election showed the Greens were in the lead with 38 per cent support.
At that time, the poll put the PCs at 29 per cent of decided voters.
Narrative Research polling during the election that was released last week showed the PCs gaining on the Greens as the party’s support reached 32 per cent among decided and leaning voters.
Speaking to the media over the noise of the crown, King said he thought the message from voters was clear that they want the province’s political parties to work together.
“I heard that at every door,” he said.
With voters electing a minority government, King said he hopes he will get the support he needs from the other parties.
“I think Islanders want us to consult broadly with each other and with Islanders, and that’s the kind of leadership that I’m going to provide.”
King said his government will need a lot of help from all of the parties, and he is prepared to work with them.
“I’m just really looking forward to the opportunity. It’s exciting. It’s a new era in P.E.I. politics,” he said.
With the election behind him, King said his plan for today was to figure out the next steps and what the government will look like.
“I think the next few days are going to be fast and furious and exciting, but we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
King said he’s taken a very unconventional road to get to where he did and he thinks he’s genuine in his belief and desire to do the best for P.E.I. that his government can do.
“For me, I’m equal parts excited and terrified,” he said.