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Politics

Neil Ellis secures win in close Bay of Quinte race

It was a tight race between Liberal incumbent Neil Ellis and newcomer Conservative Tim Durkin for Bay of Quinte.

Election night was a long one for candidates in Bay of Quinte, with numbers too close to call until early Tuesday morning.

But, in the end, Liberal incumbent Neil Ellis was re-elected despite an early challenge from Conservative candidate Tim Durkin.

READ MORE: Canada election results: Bay of Quinte

Ellis won over 24,000 votes to Durkin’s almost 23,000, with a lead of around 1,400 votes. In comparison, in the 2015 election, Ellis received just over 29,000 votes representing over 50 per cent of ballots cast, with Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins coming in second with just under 20,000 votes.

This year, the NDP’s Stephanie Bell placed a distant third with under 10,000 votes.

After hours of waiting at the Empire Theatre in Belleville, Ellis was relieved the campaign was over.

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“I tell you, it’s been a long 40 days and nights,” Ellis told Global News.

Ellis said although the campaign was divisive, he is looking forward to getting back to parliament.

Bay of Quinte Riding Profile
Bay of Quinte Riding Profile

“As much as you see on TV, we do get along as Members of Parliament. I have friends on all parties and caucus.”

Ellis has friends locally as well — Jim Harrison, mayor of Quinte West, and Mitch Panciuk, mayor of Belleville, who both attended Ellis’ election celebration on Monday.

Both told Global News they showed Ellis their support because they wanted his federal advocacy for the region to continue.

READ MORE: What’s driving high water levels in Lake Ontario?

“Infrastructure is a part of all we do. A big, big part,” Harris said. “We need that infrastructure funding to be continued.”

Panciuk said he’s hoping Ellis will fight for the region when it comes to the rising level of Lake Ontario.

“That’s a huge issue for us. We are very concerned about next spring, and Neil Ellis has already committed to advocate for us.”

After his acceptance speech, the MP-elect spent what little was left of the night thanking his volunteers and speaking with those who stuck it out until the early morning decision was made.

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Ellis will be sworn into office in mid-November.

—With files from Alexandra Mazur.