There wasn’t much doubt about the outcome of the election in Spruce Woods as Cliff Cullen, the Progressive Conservative incumbent, handily reclaimed his seat in the Manitoba legislature.
Cullen was in Winnipeg Tuesday to share in the PC victory march.
NDP candidate Justin Shannon came in a distant second, followed by Green Party of Manitoba candidate Gordon Beddome and Liberal candidate Jennifer Harcus bringing up the rear.
In a telephone interview from Winnipeg, Cullen thanked those who supported him and gave him their vote of confidence once again.
"It’s about understanding the issues of the local community," he said, adding the redistribution of Spruce Woods constituency after the last election is "a sign that Brandon is growing and that’s very positive."
Cullen, who again won by a large margin, said the Progressive Conservatives made a lot of promises in the last election and fulfilled those promises.
The party also made a lot of promises this year, and they plan to fulfil them, as well, he said.
Cullen was elected as the MLA for Turtle Mountain in 2004 and re-elected in 2007. In 2011 and 2016, he was re-elected in the new constituency of Spruce Woods. Cullen previously served as the Minister of Growth, Enterprise, the Minister of Crown Services and as Government House Leader. In 2018, he was appointed as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Keeper of the Great Seal of the Province of Manitoba.
Spruce Woods lost a large swath of rural area around Killarney, Ninette and Baldur thanks to electoral division redistribution in 2018, but it gained urban voters on Brandon’s North Hill and the entire area north of the Assiniboine River from Brandon East and Brandon West.
In addition to part of Brandon, Spruce Woods also takes in communities such as Rivers, Oak Lake, Souris, Wawanesa and Glenboro.
The Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission made the change to account for the city’s growing population since the 2016 election.
Cullen won that election with more than 73 per cent of the vote, beating out second-place Manitoba Party candidate Malcolm McKellar by more than 4,400 votes, followed by the NDP’s Amanda Chmelyk and the Liberals’ Jaron Hart.
The constituency that year saw a voter turnout of just over 52 per cent.
Shannon, the NDP candidate, said Tuesday running in the election was a great experience for him.
"I think I was running because I wanted to move the ball forward and I hope we did that, said Shannon, the former Brandon University Students’ Union president.
He added, "I hope that in four years from now, another NDP candidate will have a better shot at Spruce Woods."
Having said that, Shannon said he hasn’t ruled out another run for public office.
"It was a great experience," he said.
Beddome, the Green party candidate in Spruce Woods, is also provincial Green party Leader James Beddome’s father.
He was the first Green candidate to run in Spruce Woods in its history.
"I was glad I ran," said Beddome, 73. "My idea of running was to give people who believe in the Green party policies a candidate to vote on.
"I think there are people here that are mindful that we have to think of economic stability, not economic growth," said the rancher. "We have to sustainable."
Liberal candidate Jennifer Harcus — a virtual ghost throughout the campaign — could not be reached Tuesday to comment on the election results.
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