Voters in the federal riding of Outremont headed to the polls on Monday in one of three byelections across the country.
Liberal candidate Rachel Bendayan was declared the winner shortly after the polls closed at 9:30 p.m.
Bendayan, a lawyer and former political aide, beat out NDP candidate Julia Sanchez, Conservative Jasmine Louras, the Green Party’s Daniel Green, Michel Duchesne from the Bloc Québécois and James Seale from the PPC.
The riding became vacant after former NDP leader Tom Mulcair resigned in August of last year.
He first won Outremont in 2007 and until 2011, it was the only NDP riding in Quebec.
Muclair’s victory turned Outremont into a beachhead for the NDP, which helped to launch the so-called orange wave that swept the province in 2011 and boosted the party to official Opposition status for the first time in its history.
Prior to the Mulcair years, Outremont was a Liberal stronghold.
From 1935 to 2007, the Liberals only lost the riding once, when Jean-Pierre Hogue, a Progressive Conservative was elected in 1988. He served until the next election in 1993.
This was Bendayan’s second time running in Outremont, she finished second to Mulcair when she ran in 2015.
While Bendayan was the front-runner in the race, a lot was at stake for the Liberals.
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Leading up to Monday’s vote, the party held 39 seats in Quebec and 179 nationally. To maintain a majority in next fall’s general election, picking up seats in Quebec is vital for the party.
While the ongoing scandal involving SNC-Lavalin and allegations the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in a bid to help the Montreal-based engineering giant escape criminal prosecution could hurt the Liberals down the road, Bendayan said people she spoke to on the campaign trail were more concerned with day-to-day issues.
— With files from The Canadian Press, Global’s Maham Abedi and Elysia Bryan-Baynes
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