Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley voters embrace Tories once again
TRURO - Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley's rebellious side was short lived.
Voters sent lifelong Tory Scott Armstrong to Ottawa with a commanding victory in yesterday's byelection. The Conservatives or Progressive Conservatives have won 16 of the past 18 elections in the riding.
"I want to welcome the Conservative Party back home," Armstrong told party faithful in Truro last night after supporters cheered his name and piped him into the golf club.
"Regardless of whatever political affiliation or who they chose to support, we are one riding, we are one population, we're going to move this riding forward together in a positive direction."
A year ago, a large portion of staunch Tory supporters, including Armstrong, supported Independent Bill Casey and voted against the Conservatives. With Casey off the ballot, many of the Casey votes returned to the Conservative fold.
It was what many considered the "big unknown" heading into yesterday's vote.
"I think the riding really wanted to move on," Armstrong said.
And that showed early on as the polls were phoned in to Conservative headquarters. The first nine all voted Conservative and many had Armstrong well ahead. Before 10 p.m., Armstrong was declared the winner.
The 43-year-old educator, basketball coach and community volunteer worked his first political campaign in 1972 as a six-year-old, going door-to-door working with Bob Coates and federal leader Robert Stanfield.
More recently, Armstrong has helped everyone from Bill Casey to Bill Langille and Karen Casey get elected.
"I am glad to see he's won with all the work he's done in the past," said Onslow's Stan Hampton. "I am a little surprised ... I thought it would be a little closer."
Langille was elected in the provincial riding of Colchester North with Armstrong's assistance.
"If energy was the sole criteria for winning an election, he'd win hands down," Langille said as he watched the poll-by-poll numbers come in at the former Willow Street elementary school.
"Traditionally, byelections don't favour the government side but every once and a while you break with tradition."
Armstrong thanked his fellow candidates for running a clean and cordial campaign and said he is looking forward to getting to work to get projects done for communities across the region.
While other candidates, media and community members raised the rift between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the riding, Armstrong continually said it was time to move forward.
"We have been through a lot," Armstrong said, but "we're a strong Conservative riding."
Results from Monday's federal byelection in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley (percentage of vote in brackets, all 245 polls reporting):
Scott Armstrong, Conservative -- 11,167 (45.8)
Mark Austin, NDP -- 6,267 (25.7)
Jim Burrows, Liberal -- 5,193 (21.3)
Jason Blanch, Green -- 807 (3.3)
Jim Hnatiuk, Christian Heritage -- 776 (3.2)
Kate Graves, Independent -- 149 (0.6)