Green Party leader David Coon was re-elected in Fredericton South on a night where his party won several seats in the province.
“People of Fredericton South voted for hope not fear,” Coon told supporters at Dolan’s after the race was called. “They voted for kindness and they voted for change not the status quo.”
Shortly after the polls closed, Coon had a commanding lead over Liberal candidate Susan Holt of over 56 per cent.
Coon is the first second-term Green MLA in the province’s history. He was the first member of his party to sit in the provincial legislature when elected—and only the fourth in the country. Coon received just over 30 per cent of the vote in a tight five-way race in 2014.
Before holding elected office, Coon worked as an environmental educator, organizer and activist. He spent 28 years with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.
A packed crowd of festive supporters at the downtown Fredericton bar erupted into cheers after the race was called. When Coon arrived around ten minutes after the call with arms raised in the air, he was met with the sounds of applause and a party atmosphere.
“My commitment as the MLA for Fredericton South is to continue to serve all people of Fredericton South to the best of my ability and to make this the greenest and best province,” he said.
The Greens may have substantial influence in the legislature after CBC News projected a minority government. In addition to Fredericton South, the party picked up a seat in Kent North and Megan Mitten narrowly won by 11 votes in Memramcook-Tantramar.
Liberal candidate Susan Holt was emotional after the news of her loss came on television in her campaign headquarters.
“The silver lining is that the people of Fredericton south are well served,” said Holt.
She said that David Coon will make a great leader and that she voted for him four years ago.
The Liberal party ended the election with a stunning drop in seats—five fewer ridings than in 2014. Holt said she feels for her friends who have not been elected or re-elected.
“These are people who I’ve become close to, who would have made brilliant representatives,” said Holt.
Holt said she attributes the outcome of the Fredericton South vote to the people of New Brunswick trying say something about the current system.
She said she doesn't know what her plans are next.
Progressive Conservative candidate Scott Smith finished third with about 13 per cent of the vote, and People’s Alliance candidate Bonnie Clark gained close to 8 per cent. NDP candidate Chris Durrant finished last with less than 2 per cent of the vote.
Isabelle Leger and Emma McPhee contributed reporting