WAVERLEY: The BILLievers kept believing as they waited for the final poll to come in, confirming that their man, Liberal incumbent Bill Horne, had been re-elected.
Horne and the thin crowd of supporters that remained at the Waverley Legion at 1:30 a.m.were packing up to head home, allowing the Legion to close up, when they took one last gaze at a reporter’s laptop and the Election Nova Scotia website.
Excitement quickly filled the air as it showed the 39 and final poll result had been tabulated for the Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank riding, giving Horne a nail biting 66-vote win over PC Candidate Dan McNaughton (3,161-3,095). Trevor Sanipass of the NDP was third with 1,567, while the Green Party’s Anthony Edmonds, the choice of students to win the riding, earned 507 votes. There were also 40 rejected ballots.
“I’m very happy for our team, they’re the ones who have got me re-elected,” said Horne to The Laker. “Our team worked very hard to get me this election. The number of people on my team that had specialties, they were phenomenal.
“The congratulations should go to them, I’m just the candidate they did all the hard work.”
Horne said the Liberals gaining a second straight majority mandate under Stephen McNeil shows Nova Scotians feel they are doing things right, even if some believe they aren’t. He spoke to media before learning the final outcome.
“It shows that we’re going down the right track,” he said. “We’re running in the right direction to make a better, stronger Nova Scotia.”
Compared to early estimates of voter turnout province-wide pegged at 43 per cent, there was 56 per cent of the 14,944 eligible voters cast a ballot in Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.
Earlier at the McNaughton headquarters, there was nervous excitement as their candidate led, before Horne nipped that gap down to eight and then took a 40-vote lead with three polls to go. The nervousness turned to worry that they would lose the riding.
McNaughton was gracious in defeat, congratulating Horne on his efforts and win.
“We ran a great campaign,” said McNaughton early in the wee hours of May 31. “I’m very proud of my team and our volunteers for the effort they gave. We did all we could.”
He said he respects the decision made by the constituents of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.
“The voters have spoken,” he said.
Will he consider running again for the PC Party? McNaughton said time will tell.
“We’ll see what happens in four years time,” said McNaughton.
In 2013, Horne won by close to 1,000 votes over PC candidate Brian Wong—who was McNaughton’s campaign manager this time around.
Horne felt the teachers issue and his stance may have impacted the final vote tally.
“I think it was due to the teachers and them wanting to play havoc in the government’s election,” he said before learning he was re-elected.
The re-election campaign was the last one for the 69-year-old. He said he will not seek a third term when the next provincial election is held in presumably four years.
“I promised my wife Pam I would only do two terms,” he said, “and I’m going to keep that promise.”