Green leader David Coon makes history in NB’s Fredericton South riding

WATCH: Global News is the first to deliver the good news to David Coon that he’s won the riding of Fredericton South

The leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick has won in the riding of Fredericton South. David Coon was leading the race with 30 per cent of the vote before vote counting was suspended due to technical glitches. He was declared the winner shortly after 12:30 a.m. AT.

The win marks the first time the party has won a seat in the provincial legislature. The party was founded in 2008 and received 4.54 per cent of the popular vote in the 2010 election.

Coon’s win is an impressive result said Lori Turnbull, associate professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, “especially when you have a two-party system like New Brunswick’s in which there are only two parties that are seen as contenders for government.

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“It is difficult for a smaller party to break through. It all starts with the first elected member,” said Turnbull.

In a 32-election campaign fought largely over fracking and the shale gas sector, Coon hoped his solutions to the province’s carbon footprint would resonate with voters.

Coon spent the last day of campaigning in the 2014 New Brunswick election pushing for action on climate change.

The Green party leader ran in the new riding of Fredericton South, which was created from parts of the Fredericton-Lincoln and Fredericton-Silverwood in last year’s redistribution of electoral boundaries.

WATCH: David Coon addresses his supporters but still isn’t sure he’s won the riding due to vote counting glitches.

Fredericton South emerged as a riding to watch, with Coon competing against the PC Minister of Energy, Craig Leonard. NDP candidate Kelly Lamrock and Liberal candidate Roy Wiggins round out the close four-way race.

The PC finished in second with over 26 per cent of the vote, the Liberals had over 21 per cent and the NDP captured over 19 per cent. Independent candidate Courtney Mills finished with less than two per cent of the vote.

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Whether or not Coon will have an impact in the legislature remains to be seen. “Individual members – even when they are leaders – usually have limited impact in the legislature,” said Turnbull. “After all, an individual member has only one vote on matters in the legislature and, unless there is a tie between the two major parties, one vote is usually not enough to make a difference.”

At dissolution, the PC held 41 seats, the Liberals 13 and one Independent seat. Redistribution saw the total number of seats cut from 55 to 49 this election.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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