An analysis of the Oct. 8 provincial election shows clear evidence of voter independence in Colchester.
Yes, a red wave swept through the province. To the tune of 33 Liberal seats compared to just 11 for the Progressive Conservatives and a measly seven for the decimated NDP.
But in the three Colchester ridings, each political party scored a victory, none of which had anything to do with joining the herd.
OK, so Liberal Karen Casey won handily in Colchester North with 5,005 votes, the 10th highest count in the province.
Don’t think for one minute, however, that this was a case of bandwagon jumping because Casey’s popularity clearly transcends party affiliation.
She proved that as a Progressive Conservative in 2009 by being easily re-elected amidst a sea of orange. Anyone doubt she would have won as a PC this time, too?
Bottom line? Colchester North residents voted, for the most part, for the individual because they respect the job she has done for the past seven years, both in power and in opposition. The fact she will a cabinet minister soon is simply a bonus.
In Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, Lenore Zann’s second consecutive victory (believed to be a first for a non-Tory in this riding) was a huge accomplishment, considering the NDP’s demise.
Certainly it was much closer (463 votes over runner-up Barry Mellish of the Liberals) than the decisive 1,540-vote victory she recorded in 2009. Shades of Casey swimming against the NDP wave four years ago, right?
But the fact that Zann did prevail suggests to us that her personable approach to politics resonated strongly with voters. Sure, many probably realized the NDP wasn’t going to win a second mandate but they still opted for the candidate they had come to know and like.
Voters in Colchester-Musqudoboit Valley also did their own thing by handing political novice Larry Harrison a commanding 1,011-vote victory over NDP incumbent Gary Burrill.
A return to their longtime Tory voting habits? Probably. But the front-running Liberals were a clear option for all those abandoning the NDP, too, weren’t they?
Overall, the results, unlike many regions of the province, show a Colchester electorate unafraid to support candidates regardless of party chances. Makes us a little harder to label, doesn’t it?