Canada election: N.B. incumbents hold most seats, 1 riding still close

Click to play video: 'Canadian Election: Fredericton riding race too close to call' Canadian Election: Fredericton riding race too close to call
WATCH: The riding of Fredericton is still too close to call. In the 2019 federal election, Jenica Atwin won as a Green Party member. She later defected to the Liberal Party, and ran as a Liberal in this election. Nathalie Sturgeon has more on the tight race and the ballot count. – Sep 21, 2021

New Brunswick re-elected most of the incumbent candidates in its 10 ridings, with one race still close to call in the early morning hours.

As of 2 a.m. on Tuesday, the contest in Fredericton had no projected winner yet.

Read more: 3 New Brunswick ridings to watch in expected federal election

Prior to the election, New Brunswick had seven Liberal seats and three Conservative seats.

Incumbents holding on to seats

Early in the evening, veteran Liberal Dominic LeBlanc was quickly projected as winning the riding of Beausejour, which he has represented for roughly 20 years.

LeBlanc has held various ministerial roles, including minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs and internal trade, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian coast guard, and leader of the government in the House of Commons.

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The Liberals also held on to their seat in the riding of Saint John-Rothesay. Wayne Long, who was first elected in 2015 during the party’s sweep of the province, is projected to be re-elected.

Read more: Live Canada election results 2021 - Real-time results in the federal election

The riding has “been a bit of a bellwether riding,” UNB political science professor J.P. Lewis told Global News back in August, just prior to the election call. The Tories had put a well-known face on the ballot — former Saint John Mayor Mel Norton — but he came in second to Long.

Incumbent candidates elsewhere in the province also held on to their seats.

Liberal incumbent Serge Cormier was projected to win in the riding of Acadia Bathurst. Fellow Liberal and former health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor was projected to hold on to her seat in Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe. René Arseneault was also projected to win in the rural riding of Madawaska-Restigouche.

For the Conservatives, incumbent candidate Richard Bragdon was projected to hold on to his seat in Tobique-Mactaquac. Conservative John Williamson was expected to be re-elected in New Brunswick Southwest, and Rob Moore was projected to be re-elected in Fundy Royal.

Then at about 2 a.m. Tuesday,, the riding of Miramichi-Grand Lake, which featured two former New Brunswick cabinet ministers in Liberal Lisa Harris and the Conservatives’ Jake Stewart, turned from red to blue.

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Close race

The riding of Fredericton turned Liberal in June, when Green Party MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor and joined the Liberal Party.

Atwin had been elected in the 2019 election — defeating the Liberal incumbent — and was the first Green Party MP to ever be elected on the East Coast.

Her defection further highlighted tension within the Green Party and the leadership of Annamie Paul.

Atwin said Monday night that she knocked on 13,000 doors during the campaign, and there were a “lot of difficult conversations” with electors about her decision to defect from the Green Party.

“The majority have been very supportive of this decision,” she told Global News.

“I feel good. I feel in the end, people will make a good choice for Fredericton tonight.”

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In 2019, the three-way race between Atwin, Conservative runner-up Andrea Johnson and Liberal incumbent Matt DeCourcey was only split by 2,577 votes.

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Johnson was vying for the seat again this time around, while Nicole O’Byrne threw her hat in the ring for the Green Party, and Atwin tried to keep it a Liberal riding. Shawn Oldenburg was the NDP candidate, while Brandon Kirby, June Patterson and Jen Smith were all on the ballot as well.`

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