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Voters in Saskatoon Meewasin stay with NDP in byelection to fill former leader’s seat

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon elects first openly gay MLA'
Saskatoon elects first openly gay MLA
Nathaniel Teed took the victory in the Saskatoon-Meewasin by-election on Monday September, 26th. This made Teed the first ever openly gay MLA in the history of Saskatchewan – Sep 27, 2022

Voters in Saskatoon Meewasin stuck with the NDP as preliminary results were released in Monday’s byelection to fill the seat vacated by the party’s former leader.

Nathaniel Teed held a comfortable lead over Kim Groff, the candidate of the governing Saskatchewan Party, with nearly 100 per cent of Monday’s ballots counted.

Read more: NDP Leader Carla Beck says Saskatchewan should focus on health-care worker retention

Teed, a co-owner of a furniture and design store in Saskatoon, had around 56 per cent of the votes compared with Groff’s 37 per cent.

“Nathaniel’s victory makes history in Saskatchewan — after 117 years, we have finally elected an openly gay member of the Legislative Assembly,” NDP Leader Carla Beck said in a news release late Monday.

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“I can only imagine what this win means to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, both young and old, that can finally see themselves reflected in their Legislature.”

Teed, on Twitter, thanked voters and said, “Tonight, we made history. Tomorrow, the work starts.”

The seat in Saskatoon Meewasin has been vacant since former NDP leader Ryan Meili vacated it at the end of June.

Meili had held the seat since 2017 when he took it from the SaskParty in a byelection, and won it again by only a few hundred votes in the 2020 general election.

Jeff Walters of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Mark Friesen of the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan and Jacklin Andrews of the Saskatchewan Green Party finished well back, all with less than three per cent of the vote.

Read more: B.C. Premier John Horgan to leave office with relatively high approval rating, poll finds

The final count is expected Oct. 8, when Elections Saskatchewan finishes tallying hospital ballots and mail-in ballots.

Elections Saskatchewan says in a news release that 2,575 ballots were cast during five days of advance voting, which finished Saturday.

Meili announced his resignation as leader in February to allow the party to rebrand as it works to shift away from critiquing the government on its COVID-19 response.

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He was replaced as leader of the New Democrats by Beck, the MLA for Regina Lakeview, in late June.

In her statement Monday night, Beck said Teed’s victory was for people who are sick of SaskParty tax hikes, and who want “action on the high cost of living, good paying jobs and healthcare that’s there when you need it.”

Premier Scott Moe tweeted his congratulations to Teed late Monday, while thanking voters who supported Groff.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

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