By Mike Anderson
It was a late night for Conservative incumbent Scot Davidson, who along with his family and a small group of supporters gathered at the Sutton Legion to watch the federal election results and celebrate his third electoral win.
Line-ups at several polls in the riding, including the Georgina Ice Palace, meant that Davidson couldn’t declare victory until almost midnight.
But “a win is a win,” according to Davidson, who was delighted by the result after spending 36 days campaigning across one of Lake Simcoe’s largest ridings, which includes Georgina, Georgina Island, East Gwillimbury and Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Davidson won York-Simcoe with 23,890 votes, 50 per cent of the total vote, with 118 of 119 poles reporting as of Thursday, 9:25 a.m. EST.
Liberal candidate Daniella Johnson received 13,856 votes (29%); NDP candidate Benjamin Jenkins 6,890 votes (14%); and PPC candidate Michael Lotter 3,552 votes (7%).
This was Davidson’s third electoral win in York-Simcoe, having won a previous federal by-election on February 25, 2019, and a general election on October 21, 2019.
But, according to Davidson, this campaign, held during the fourth wave of the pandemic, was more challenging than the others.
“It was difficult,” he said. “We can just start with tonight; we couldn’t put in an open invitation to everyone. You couldn’t have those big fundraisers; you couldn’t have those rallies.”
“So connecting with people was a lot more difficult. And the time was very tight. This is a big community — almost all the way from Schomberg to Port Bolster. So to get out and see everybody was challenging.”
Still, Davidson says voters continue to support him because they appreciate his efforts on behalf of the riding.
“I put the hard work in,” he said. “I try and get out to every single event that I can. And I always stand up for York-Simcoe in the House of Commons, and I know the issues that people have, and I will continue to champion those issues.”
“We roll up our sleeves here in York-Simcoe, and we grind it out to help each other. I think hard work is rewarded. And I think I’ve really worked hard for this community.”
While Liberal Daniella Johnson was able to capture 29 per cent of the vote, up from 26.8 per cent in 2019; Benjamin Jenkins, despite the absence of a Green Party candidate, wasn’t able to move the needle for the NDP, garnering 14 per cent of the vote – the same result as 2019.
Both candidates, running for the first time in York-Simcoe, don’t reside in the riding, and Davidson, born and raised in Georgina, believes this might have had a bearing on the results.
“People who live in York-Simcoe want to see a representative here that is from the riding, whether they were born here or not,” he said.
“So they understand the needs of the community. And so they know where Pefferlaw is, and Belhaven is, and Udora is, and Egypt and all the other little towns. There are 32 communities in York-Simcoe, and every community is unique.”
Davidson says he wasn’t surprised by the surge in support for the People’s Party of Canada, with Michael Loller, a Bradford resident, increasing his share of the vote by more than five percentage points, from less than two per cent in the 2019 general election to seven per cent this time around.
“It didn’t surprise me. Unfortunately, I think one thing this pandemic has done is galvanized people,” he said.
“People have become disenfranchised, and the PPC represents that place that’s anti-government and anti-establishment. People that aren’t happy with the traditional parties. And I think we have to work harder to make sure that we keep everyone onside and we keep our eye on the ball for the country.”
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