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Niagara Falls
Friday, April 19, 2024
Runner-up Kaiser says she’ll continue to try to flip riding red

Although Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser finished second to Conservative candidate Tony Baldinelli, she says she will continue chasing her goal of “flipping this riding red.”

With 238 out of 240 polls in the Niagara Falls riding reported, Kaiser received 22,079 votes or 32.4 per cent of the vote, according to Elections Canada. The riding has been Tory since 2004.

Liberal supporters, volunteers and Kaiser’s family members gathered for a party at the Old Stone Inn Boutique Hotel in Niagara Falls Monday night.

As the polls closed at 9:30 p.m., Liberal supporters watched live results on two TVs at the hotel’s bar. Whenever Kaiser’s name appeared on the screen showing she was initially leading the race, people cheered loudly.

Fort Erie Coun. Don Lubberts said he’s been a Liberal for more than 20 years and said it was time for the riding to turn Liberal.

Niagara Falls resident Aaron Wagner said he was undecided about who he would support right up until the election day.

“Andrea knocked on thousands of doors. That’s not just her, (that’s) including her team. Anyone who can do that much legwork, that’s something to look at,” Wagner said. “How much do you want the job? If you want anything that bad, would you be willing to knock down thousands of doors to get the job?”

By 11 p.m., when preliminary results showed Baldinelli started leading by hundreds of votes, the atmosphere at the bar grew quieter as all attention was turned to the screens.

Some people still kept their hopes high realizing that a lot of polls still had to report results.

For Jamie Slingerland, director of viticulture at Pillitteri Estates Winery, in politics, no one is “necessarily defeated.”

“Politics is a big learning curve,” Slingerland said. “Whether you win or lose, tomorrow is another day. And I think with Andrea’s determination and her spirit that she’s shown, she has cabinet potential.”

Kaiser was greeted with loud cheers and applause and her supporters started chanting her name after she arrived at the party close to midnight. She offered a wide smile while hugging Niagara Falls Liberal Association Riding chair Janet Kilty.

She hugged her family before starting her concession speech by saying she feels like she “let everyone down.”

The crowd interrupted her and loudly protested, then started clapping and chanting “Andrea” again.

Kaiser thanked her campaign team, volunteers, mentors and family members, saying she was “truly proud” of what they managed to accomplish since her nomination in August.

“Looking at the polls, we did so well,” Kaiser told the crowd. “While we didn’t get the result we wanted, we have re-energized Liberals across the riding … Although we didn’t win this riding tonight, I’m thrilled Canada has re-elected a Liberal government for four more years.”

Kaiser said she’s committed to continuing working hard to get ready for the next campaign and to chase the goal of turning the riding Liberal.

“Until then, I want to congratulate Tony Baldinelli on his victory tonight and I wish him well as he transitions into his new role as MP,” Kaiser said. “I also want to thank all the other candidates for a hard-fought campaign.”

Kaiser’s daughter, Madison Lepp, whom Kaiser often credited for motivation to fight climate change, said she was inspired by her mother.

“Even though it was a loss tonight, it was a great start and just seeing all us Liberals getting together and starting our campaign in the riding that’s not usually red, it’s been a truly amazing experience,” Lepp told The Lake Report.

Volunteer Heidi Schneiderman said Kaiser is the right person to be in Parliament thanks to her more than a decade of experience in municipal politics.

“I would have hoped Canada would have learned from November 2016 (U.S. elections) and Ontario would have learned from Doug Ford,” she said.

Campaign volunteer Linda Beyer said Kaiser “worked so hard. She deserved to win.”

“Just sad it didn’t work out better for Andrea. She’s new on the federal stage so she’s got a lot of potential to win if she’d like to run again,” Beyer said, adding she’s happy “the Liberals are still going to be ruling.”

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