Liberal incumbent Ken Boshcoff won Thunder Bay-Rainy River last night for the second time, but with a far narrower margin of victory than he did 18 months ago.
“I’m never one to be presumptive. In this life, you always have to have two speeches,” Boshcoff told supporters gathered at the DaVinci Club after CTV declared him elected.
“I’m just glad the people still believe in me,” he added.
Boshcoff faced strong competition from NDP candidate John Rafferty, who finished just 663 votes behind according to preliminary results.
“It was a bit of a nail-biter,” Rafferty said. “Naturally it would have been nicer if it was a little closer the other way, but it was not meant to be this time.”
Preliminary results put the final tally at 13,525 votes for Boshcoff, 12,862 for Rafferty, 10,485 for Conservative candidate David Leskowski, 1,189 for Green candidate Russ Aegard, and 424 votes for Marijuana Party candidate Doug MacKay.
As polls across the riding reported their results over the course of the evening, the margin between the two front-runners swung back and forth continuously, with Rafferty taking the lead by 214 votes at one point.
As in the June, 2004 election, Leskowski placed a strong third among voters.
“The predicted polls that we did showed we had a lot of support, but we didn’t get our vote out, or the other parties did a really, really good job getting their vote out,” Leskowski said.
“People [can] support you all they want, but if they don’t get out and vote for you, it doesn't matter at all,” he added.
Boshcoff noted the Liberals suffered a setback nationally due to issues like the sponsorship scandal, but he credited his team at his campaign and constituency offices for the victory in Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
“Over this period of time, we bore the brunt of what happened long before my time,” he said.
“We will come back with a majority government in the next election,” Boshcoff pledged.