Ryan Meili's opponent concedes, says no need to 'hold up' Sask. NDP leader's work

·2 min read

NDP Leader Ryan Meili's opponent has conceded in the tight race for the Saskatoon Meewasin seat in the provincial legislature.

Saskatchewan Party candidate Rylund Hunter said he called Meili on Thursday afternoon to congratulate him.

The riding was considered too close to call on Monday's election night. CBC's Decision Desk is now projecting Meili to win, after Hunter's concession.

As of Thursday, Meili leads by 209 votes, but as many as 591 mail-in ballots could still come in and be counted on Nov. 7.

Hunter said those mail-in ballots are unlikely to make up the deficit he faces.

"I think there is no need to hold up him getting to work until the seventh," Hunter said, adding he and Meili share a mutual respect.

"I certainly respect and appreciate his hustle and drive to serve the community and he reciprocated that."

Meili's win would break the streak of two straight NDP leaders losing election bids for their own seats.

On Wednesday, before Elections Saskatchewan had publicly released the latest mail-in results, Meili declared victory in Saskatoon Meewasin.

On Thursday, the NDP added a seat in Regina University, when NDP challenger Aleana Young won over Sask. Party incumbent Tina Beaudry-Mellor, CBC's Decision Desk projects.

As it stands, the Sask. Party is projected to have elected 46 members to the NDP's 13.

The Saskatchewan Party leads in Saskatoon Riversdale and Regina Pasqua with more mail-in votes to be counted. Neither NDP candidate has conceded in those races.

Election result wait 'roller-coaster': Hunter

Saskatoon Meewasin was one of eight ridings CBC News did not call on election night due to the wait for mail-in ballot results and the margin of the race.

"It's a bit of a roller-coaster for the whole team," said Hunter. "You're in overtime and there's nothing you can do but sit back and watch. That's the way it goes with any competition. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

But "I had a bit of an idea of how things might go," he added.

Hunter did not rule out a future election run and thanked his campaign team and supporters.

"It was a real honour to run and have so many people put their trust in me."