‘It was a roller-coaster’: Former NDP MLA wins Nova Scotia seat for Liberals

Click to play video: 'Lenore Zann remains MLA ahead of federal campaign' Lenore Zann remains MLA ahead of federal campaign
WATCH: Lenore Zann, a Nova Scotia MLA planning to run federally, isn’t ready to leave her post just yet. Jeremy Keefe has more. – Aug 27, 2019

A former Nova Scotia NDP MLA will head to Ottawa as a member of the federal Liberal party after she was elected to represent the riding of Cumberland-Colchester on Monday.

Lenore Zann was neck-and-neck with Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong throughout the evening before pulling away as the final votes were tallied on Tuesday morning.

“It was a roller-coaster,” Zann said after her victory. “I think it might have been the closest race in the country, I’m not sure. It felt like it.”

“But I’m thrilled for my family and my constituents, and for the people here who worked so hard on my campaign.”

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Zann, who served as a member of the Nova Scotia NDP for nearly 10 years, resigned from the party and sat as an independent after announcing her candidacy for the Liberals in June.

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Zann beat Armstrong by only 453 votes, gathering 36.7 per cent of the riding’s support. She earned 16,672 votes to Armstrong’s 16,219.

“I knew it would, but I didn’t know it would be quite this close,” Zann said. “I wasn’t that surprised, to be honest. I worked really hard getting to know people in the larger riding.”

“I want to make a difference. I really want to make life better for Canadians and keep life on a progressive track.”

She will join Conservative Chris d’Entremont, another former Nova Scotia MLA, as they head to Ottawa as MPs. d’Entremont sucessfully won a seat in West Nova, becoming the only Conservative to successfuly push back against the red wave that swept over Atlantic Canada in 2015.

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The Cumberland-Colchester seat was was once held by popular MP Bill Casey, first for the Conservatives and then for the Liberals. Casey announced last September that he would not be seeking re-election, so heading into Monday the riding was very much up in the air.

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“That (Casey) was prepared and willing to help me made the difference. That’s what made me decide to do this,” said Zann.

After the win, Casey said he’s never seen a race so close.

“Several times the parties changed. At times, they were only four votes apart,” said Casey.

“All the parties in this race did a good job, it was a good campaign … and I congratulate them all.”

With files from Jesse Thomas. 

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