“I am elated. I am very happy,” said Bob Bailey, the Progressive Conservative candidate just moments after being declared the winner in the Sarnia-Lambton riding Thursday night and giving an acceptance speech in front of supporters at the Petrolia Legion.
“I always see an election as a performance review and I got mine tonight,” Bailey, as he cruised to his fifth-straight victory, first being elected in 2011.
Unofficial results with all of the polls reporting had Bailey at 52.7 percent and 21,183 votes with the NDP’s Dylan Stelpstra at 23.6 percent and 9.492 votes, Mark Russell of the Liberal Party at 10.5 percent and 4,199 votes, and Keith Benn of the New Blue Party at 6.8 percent and 2,719 votes. Rounding out the ballot was Mason Bourdeau of the Green Party with 1,266 votes and 3.2 percent, Carla Olson of the Populist Party with 964 votes and 2.4 percent and Ian Orchard of the Ontario Party with 351 votes and 0.9 percent.
This was a part of a trend across the province as Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party increased their seat count to 83, up from its 2018 results of 76 seats in the 124-seat legislature. Bailey compared the night’s results to the election of 1951 when Progressive Conservative Premier Leslie Frost secured 79 seats when there were only 90 seats in the Ontario Legislature.
“People ask me why I am running again,” said Bailey. “Because I am not done yet.” He pointed to three initiatives which he would like to see completed, twinning Highway 40 from Wellington Street and Indian Road in Sarnia, the construction of a new withdrawal management centre in Sarnia and the Water Treatment Plant upgrade for the Town of Petrolia. The water treatment plant project involves the replacement of the intake pipe that will help to provide clean drinking water to residents in five municipalities. The money is there for the withdrawal management centre and the water treatment plant, the work just has to be done, he said.
“I have been to every restaurant and every small town.” Bailey said to supporters during his acceptance speech getting a laugh from the crowd. “I should start a food column. My waist line says I should back off.”
He made sure to thank the other candidates for putting their names forward and doing the hard work a campaign involves.
Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent