The closest contests and biggest blowouts of the Ontario election

·2 min read
The tightest margin of victory in Ontario's 43rd general election was 1.6 per cent of the total vote share, Elections Ontario data says. The largest was 44 per cent.  (Esteban Cuevas/CBC - image credit)
The tightest margin of victory in Ontario's 43rd general election was 1.6 per cent of the total vote share, Elections Ontario data says. The largest was 44 per cent. (Esteban Cuevas/CBC - image credit)

Elections are stressful for political parties and candidates — more for some than others, though.

The vote last Thursday in Ontario saw 83 Progressive Conservatives, 31 New Democrats, eight Liberals, one Green and one independent elected to Queen's Park.

Some races were real nail-biters, others total blowouts.

Nineteen of Ontario's 124 ridings saw less than five per cent of the vote share separate winners from their nearest rival. On the flip side, 21 contests were won with huge margins of more than 30 per cent.

Preliminary Elections Ontario data suggests the closest race by both vote share and raw vote total was in Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte. PC incumbent Doug Downey defeated Liberal challenger Jeff Lehman by just 1.6 per cent, or 609 votes.

Downey served as the province's attorney general in the government of Premier Doug Ford, while Lehman is the mayor of Barrie. Public polling put the two candidates neck-and-neck heading into election day.

In the end, the result was much tighter than in 2018 when Downey won the riding with 16.5 per cent of the vote share.

Here's a look at the 10 tightest races of the election:

10 closest races in the 2022 Ontario election

Last week's election was decided by the lowest turnout in Ontario's history. Only about 43.03 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to Elections Ontario, compared with 57 per cent in 2018. Roughly 1.2 million fewer voters went to the polls this time around.

The contest also saw fewer really close races. In 2018, nine ridings were ultimately decided by 1.6 per cent or less of the vote share, with five of those below one per cent. Three ridings — Scarborough–Guildwood, Thunder Bay–Atikokan and Brampton Centre — were won by fewer than 100 total votes.

The biggest blowouts in this election were also somewhat more subdued than in 2018.

For the second consecutive time, the largest margin of victory came in Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, a reliable PC stronghold since 2003. John Yakabuski won by 44 per cent, definitely commanding but down from the 52.5 per cent margin he secured last time.

The single-largest total vote share (different from the margin of victory) won by any single candidate in the election was 64.9 per cent by PC George Pirie, in Timmins.

Pirie took the seat from Gilles Bisson, who had been the longest-serving NDP MPP in the province after he was first elected in 1999.

Here's a look at the top 10 biggest wins from last week's election.

Biggest wins in the 2022 Ontario election

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