GUYSBOROUGH – A month is a long time in politics. When Premier Iain Rankin called a provincial election last month, with more than a year left in his government’s mandate, many pundits thought a Liberal victory was assured. As votes were counted into the night on Aug. 17, that assumption was seen to be in error.
The first hint that things weren’t going according to plan for the Liberals was the lead PC candidate Kent Smith was taking over Liberal incumbent and Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Kevin Murphy in the riding of Eastern Shore. Since 1970, that riding has elected a government representative, earning the distinction of predicting the trend in Nova Scotia elections.
As the night drew on, the PCs painted most of the electoral map – except for urban ridings and a few rural ridings in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore – blue.
In the riding of Guysborough-Tracadie, PC candidate Greg Morrow started the night strong and kept pulling ahead of incumbent Liberal Lloyd Hines as more votes were counted. When more than half of all possible votes (7,767) were counted at 11 p.m. on election night, Morrow was ahead by 1,600 votes.
Morrow spoke to The Journal when 25 of 27 polls had reported, clearly defining him as the new MLA for the Guysborough-Tracadie riding.
Morrow said that he and his team worked hard during the election, adding, “It really starts with the team, and we had a great team … I heard the only way to beat an incumbent is to out work them.”
And, according to poll results, the electorate rewarded his effort.
When asked what he had learned during the campaign, Morrow said he saw that people really appreciated it when you came to meet them at their door, “To ask them what their concerns are … I had one guy say to me, ‘The UPS guy can’t even find me.’ So, I took that with a bit of pride. We made pretty sure to get to every back road and side road across the biggest riding in the province and we’re pretty proud of that.”
Looking ahead, Morrow said he sees a lot of hard work in the months to come. “I spoke to thousands of people on the doorstep; there are a lot of different concerns and issues across the province – healthcare is number one and we have some work to do there. As a party we’ve been up front with people. We’ve said fixing healthcare isn’t going to be cheap and it isn’t going to happen overnight, but we’re willing to invest because Nova Scotians are worth it.”
As the blue wave swept across the province, handing the PC party a majority and party Leader Tim Houston a seat in the premier’s chair, Morrow said, “Within the party there was a belief that we focused on healthcare and that was what people were hearing on the doorstep, people responded to that. The polls had us down … at the beginning of this thing, we were down 28 points, tonight we’ve come back to win a government. That’s very exciting. It just goes to show that hard work pays off.”