It was a tough day for supporters who came to a Conservative campaign wrap-up event Monday night at the Saskatoon Travelodge.
People arrived just as projections began coming in for a Liberal win, leaving many visibly disappointed as they watched the results flash across the big screen.
Occasional cheers erupted as news would come in of prominent Conservatives winning their seats, like Gerry Ritz in Battlefords-Lloydminster and Stephen Harper in Calgary-Heritage.
But those cheers were all but snuffed out when the call came in predicting a Liberal majority.
The assembled Conservatives were able to find some solace with wins for Brad Trost in Saskatoon-University and Kelly Block in Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek.
Trost thanked voters in the newly-minted riding for sending him back to Ottawa. He had served as MP for the now-defunct riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt since 2004.
As to his party’s showing nationally, Trost said he was confident they’d be able to compete in the next election.
“Four years ago, the Liberals had a bad night. Tonight, it wasn’t the greatest for us. But we have over 100 seats. We’re going to rebuild. We’re going to build on our accomplishments and go forward,” he said.
Having never served in Opposition, Block said she expected a learning curve. She said she was especially concerned with advocating for Saskatchewan’s rescource industries when she heads back to Ottawa.
“I think it’s going to be important for us to continue to pressure the Liberal government to support the responsible development of our natural rescources as well as the infrastructure to get (them) to market,” she said.
While Trost and Block were celebrating wins, Randy Donauer, the Conservative candidate for Saskatoon-West, had to concede after losing a close race to the NDP’s Sheri Benson.
Donauer thanked his volunteers, saying he was humbled to have had their support before congratulating Benson on her win.
“Canda has spoken. Saskatoon West has spoken. We ran a good, hard campaign — the best campaign we could’ve run. I’ll go to bed tonight knowing we did everything we could,” he said.
Donauer said he felt that nationally, the party was in tough as it tried to secure a fourth-consecutive election win, something no Canadian party had achieved in about 100 years. He said the redrawing of district boundaries that created Saskatoon-West in 2012 also played a role.
“When the boundary alteration took place, we knew we had an uphill battle. We knew that this had been changed and quite heavily favoured the NDP. I knew that going in,” he said.
With the loss, Donauer will return to his post as Saskatoon city councillor for Ward 5. Donauer was on an unpaid leave of absence from council during the campaign.
Veteran sports broadcaster Kevin Waugh scores Saskatoon-Grasswood for Conservatives
Thirty-nine years of being broadcast into living rooms across Saskatoon helped earn Kevin Waugh a job in Ottawa.
The veteran CTV sports reporter won the newly-created Sasktoon-Grasswood riding in decisive fashion Monday night, earning over 42 per cent of the vote.
“Not many times I had to introduce myself, you know, that’s the advantage I had,” said Waugh, speaking at his victory party at Greenbryer Golf and Country Club. “When I talked to people, it was ‘hey Kevin, how’s it going?’ Didn’t know if they were voting for me, but they knew (me) at the door.”
Waugh’s nomination for the riding in July was considered an upset. He beat out Conservative cabinet minister Lynne Yellich, who had held the old Blackstrap riding since 2000. He had little prior political experience, except for 10 years as a school board trustee.
“We got into it late … the others were ahead of us by a year. So you got to make up for it. As you know, in sports, when you’re behind you work harder, and I think we did.”
For Waugh, working harder meant old-fashioned door-knocking. His social-media presence was sparse at best; attracting less than 50 Twitter followers by the time the polls closed.
“I’m very happy. I spent 40 good years at CTV, and I am so blessed to move on to something that I cherish so much,” he said.
-With files from Bryn Levy and Kurtis Doering.