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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Ontario PCs fall short in Essex

Pictured: Essex PC MPP candidate, Chris Lewis, embraces his mother while addressing supporters during last Thursday’s election night.

by Adam Gault

Despite making strong gains in the Riding of Essex since the last general election in 2014, the Progressive Conservative Party and its locale candidate, former Kingsville Town Councillor Chris Lewis, fell short in taking Essex in last Thursday night’s election.

NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak was elected to represent the Essex Riding at Queen’s Park for the third term.

With Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party winning a majority government status, taking 76 seats in the election to determine the 42nd Parliament of Ontario, many PC supporters had hoped the wave of blue support would stretch down into Essex County, giving the Riding a seat in the province’s next government.

Lewis came up short to Natyshak by just over 3000 votes, a stark improvement over 2014 PC candidate, Ray Cecile, who lost to Natyshak by 18,000 votes four years ago.

“I’m fine with those results, because I saw the PC government get a majority,” Lewis said, addressing supporters at his Kingsville campaign office after the election results had been announced. “This province is back on track, finally.”

Lewis thanked his staff and volunteers for their time and contributions during his campaign, adding that there was no way he would have made the progress he had, without their unwavering support.

“Each and every one of you have been absolutely fantastic, truthfully fantastic,” Lewis said. “I would have never dreamt, when this whole thing started, I would meet so many incredibly dear friends. This office, my staff, I cannot thank you enough.”

Lewis wouldn’t confirm at this time whether he would consider a future run at either the provincial or federal level in any future elections, but took the time to congratulate his Essex opponents for a well run series of campaigns.

“I do want to congratulate Taras Natyshak, congratulations to himself, congratulations to Kate and Nancy as well,” Lewis said. “Always give credit where credit is due, and congratulations to him.”

One of Lewis’s primary campaigning points was to address the issue of Highway 3, and to have it widened to four lanes between Essex and Leamington. Lewis said he believes Ford will make good on his promise to tackle this issue, as he said in person, while visiting Essex County several weeks ago.

“Doug Ford is a man of his word, so I believe that he’s going to get it done. Unfortunately, I don’t have the right to call him tomorrow morning to say ‘let’s get this done,’” Lewis explained. “Hopefully the incumbent, Taras Natyshak, now can call Doug Ford or can bring it up in the legislature and get it done. I’m really proud of our campaign, because we brought it up a whole bunch more levels to say it’s time to get Highway 3 fixed.”


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