A short burst of elation quickly turned somber among friends and family of Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser, as the Niagara-on-the-Lake woman fell behind in votes Monday night and it became clear Conservative Tony Baldinelli was going to Ottawa to represent the Niagara Falls riding.
The room grew quiet as Kaiser’s group of supporters and campaign workers huddled around a tiny bar and two small televisions at the Old Stone Inn, watching Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party win a minority government while the Niagara Falls riding remained Conservative.
But when news spread the Liberal candidate was about to arrive and supporters moved into the larger area that was intended for a victory celebration, Kaiser entered the room to loud applause, and with a huge smile headed to give her mother, sister and daughter hugs before heading to the podium to thank all those who had worked to turn the riding red.
Although she allowed a glimpse of her emotions to show when she told the crowd of about 60 supporters, “I feel like I let you down,” the smile quickly returned along with her composure.
“I’m truly proud of the campaign we ran, and truly proud of the work we’ve done,” said Kaiser.
“I was committed to running a campaign that would bring some positivity, a positive spirit and a positive energy, and it was so amazing. I had a ton of fun,” she said, “and met some incredible people.”
“I’m so proud of the team we built and the new Liberal family that we have,” she added.
“I’m very excited about the momentum we’ve created.”
She had a moment of thinking ‘oh my gosh we didn’t win,’ she said, but looking at the polls, felt they had done well. “Look at what we’ve accomplished in that short time frame,” she said of the campaign.
She offered her congratulations to the other candidates, including Baldinelli, whose campaign was supported by long-time MP Rob Nicholson. He kept the riding Conservative with a lead over Kaiser of about 2,000 votes, with Brian Barker of the NDP in third place, Independent Mike Strange in fourth and Sandra O’Connor of the Green Party in fifth place.
Kaiser, who ran her campaign with a theme of positivity, said the results of the evening proved “you can be successful with positive politics, treating other politicians with respect and having a positive message. I’m very excited that we have a Liberal government again.”
And while “we didn’t get the results we wanted,” Kaiser said, she remains committed to working hard on all the issues that are important to Liberals, such as climate change, and will be ready for the next campaign.
“I hope the new Niagara Liberal team is ready to work hard, because I know I am.”
She pledged to continue working to turn the riding red.
“We need to remain engaged. We will be ready for the next election and we will come back stronger than ever,” she said.
Queenston resident Joan King was one of the team members who worked hard on Kaiser’s campaign, doing some door-to-door campaigning and telephoning. She’d never been involved in a political campaign before, she said, but she has enormous respect for Kaiser and believed strongly she was the right person to represent the riding in Ottawa.
Although disappointed in the outcome, she noted that when Kaiser arrived at the Old Stone Inn to speak to her supporters, “she brought positivity into the room with her, and lifted our spirits. She ran a good, clean campaign, and she gained a lot of ground for the next time. She worked so hard, and had lots of great support. It was a close race.”
Kaiser brought together a great team of people, and got a “huge response,” said King.