First-time political candidate Danielle Adams of the NDP thwarted incumbent Progressive Conservative Kelly Bindle’s bid to become the first PC MLA re-elected in the 50-year history of the Thompson electoral division Sept. 10.
Adams, who worked for the last decade as a constituency assistant for Churchill/Churchill-Keewatinook Aski NDP MP Niki Ashton, beat Bindle handily to become the next Thompson MLA, receiving 2,342 votes to 1,467 for Bindle with 44 of 54 polls reporting in unofficial election night results. Bindle had beaten the NDP’s Steve Ashton in 2016, ending a 35-year run for the former MLA, who is Niki Ashton’s father.
Adams is the first female MLA for Thompson.
“This is not my win,” said Adams in her victory speech. “This is our win. This was a team effort. We showed the PCs what northerners want. They want a representative in Winnipeg that’s going to speak for them. Northerners want somebody who’s going to stand up for value-added jobs, going to stand up to this privatization and cuts agenda and Thompson and the north spoke. They’re sending me to Winnipeg and [Premier Brian] Pallister ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Adams said it was surreal to watch the results come in and see her lead over Bindle grow as the night wore on. She credited her victory to meeting with voters face-to-face and hearing what they had to say.
“It’s about knocking and talking to people and listening,” she said. “You can’t represent people if you don’t listen to them.”
Campaign manager Blair Hudson said Adams’s work ethic was impressive.
“It’s not often that the candidate knocks on twice as many doors as the next-best person knocking on doors,” he said. “She knocked on every door in every community in the constituency so, Danielle, this victory is absolutely yours.”
The candidate’s former boss said she knew Adams would do well as an MLA.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the fact tonight that Danielle is going to be representing here, our community, our part of the north,” said Niki Ashton. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with her for so many years and I have no doubt that she is going to give ‘er when it comes to taking Pallister on.”
PC candidate Kelly Bindle told supporters at his election night gathering that he was glad to see the PCs win another majority, taking 36 seats compared to 18 for the NDP and three for the Liberals. That’s four fewer seats than the PCs won in 2016, while the NDP picked up four more than in the last provincial election.
“I'm happy our team won the game with a majority government, so we can still go forward with our agenda,” said Bindle. “It's unfortunate that I didn't score a goal here, but I'm still glad our team won. Manitobans are in good hands. It's been an absolute honour to serve them. It's been very humbling and I'm very glad I got that opportunity. Not a lot of people get that opportunity.”
Later, at the Adams campaign headquarters, Bindle congratulated the winner. “You’re in for a heck of a ride,” he said.
Adams’s victory in Thompson was one of two northern races that saw the NDP take back seats they lost in 2016, as Ian Bushie was elected in the Keewatinook electoral district, which was won by Liberal Judy Klassen in 2016.