Abbotsford’s losing Liberal Party candidates were gracious in their defeat in Monday’s federal election.
Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon incumbent Jati Sidhu and Abbotsford newcomer Seamus Heffernan say they knew they faced tough Conservative competition this federal election.
“My team did a fantastic job by trying to reach people: promotion, door knocking, trying to put the next mandate on the floor,” said Sidhu, who claimed 25 per cent of the vote in his bid for re-election.
Conservative incumbent Ed Fast took the Abbotsford riding with 13,174 votes compared to Heffernan’s second place with 5,762; Brad Vis won the Mission riding with 10,474 votes compared to Sidhu’s 6,300.
Heffernan congratulated Fast on his victory. He said he wanted to thank his campaign team for backing him as a first-time runner.
“And a lot of people came out of the woodwork to give up their time, their money, their trucks, everything. It’s humbling.”
Bright red “re-elect” T-shirts started to trickle into the Abbotsford Banquet and Conference Centre at around 7:15 p.m. to watch the vote count.
Supporters started out upbeat. Within 15 minutes there were over 100 people walking from one conversation to another. The banquet tables had empty seats and everyone stood on their feet.
As numbers started to roll in, the enthusiasm started to sap.
The conversations turned quiet around 8 p.m., the banquet seats started to fill and the lineup for the bar began to build.
“At this point, we need a miracle to win,” said Heffernan’s campaign manager, Kris Erikson.
Sidhu’s confidence remained a little bit longer.
“I’m very hopeful. Like last time, it was 1:30 in the morning before we got the final result,” Sidhu said. A couple minutes later, Vis was declared the projected winner by the Canadian Press.
Erikson said campaigning against Fast was an “uphill battle” against a “juggernaut.”
Although they failed to win their ridings, both candidates said they were happy with the federal results.
“The top priority was we’re going to keep government, regardless of whether I win, or Jati wins or whoever wins. And it looks like we’re going to do that and I have nothing but faith in the national leadership,” Heffernan said.