In speaking with his supporters Tuesday night, Liberal Dwight Ball admitted to having a moment when he wondered how he would do against Darryl Kelly, the Tory incumbent.
“Whenever you have to go up against an incumbent it’s always going to be a challenge,” said Ball. “The really scary part at the end of the day was that I knew it would be very close after knocking on so many doors and hearing people.
“It was an uphill battle, but we’ve been to every door in town and we’ve answered everyone’s questions, and I think that’s what put us over the top.”
Humber Valley turned Liberal as Ball won the provincial election in the district, defeating Kelly by only 68 votes.
At one point during the evening it looked as though Kelly may have pulled it off, garnering almost 100 more votes than Ball with only three polling stations left to report.
In 2007 Ball lost to Kelly in the fall general election in another close race, with a margin of approximately 250 votes.
He was disappointed, but vowed to carry on.
“I don’t really look at this as a validation; I look at it as giving the people of Humber Valley a choice,” he said. “That was what I really wanted to do; this is really a continuation of what I wanted to do.”
A gracious Kelly wished Ball well and said although he wasn’t sure what he would do now, he would take some time to reflect.
He agreed that it looked good at the beginning.
“I don’t really know what happened,” he said. “I always knew it would be close. This is the third time Dwight and I (campaigned against each other),” he said. “I obviously congratulate him on his win.”
It was an uphill battle, but we’ve been to every door in town and we’ve answered everyone’s questions, and I think that’s what put us over the top. - Liberal candidate Dwight Ball
Kelly said being an MHA is not an easy job, and Ball, he said, is in for some challenges.
“You have the demands of the communities, the constituents, the travel,” he said. “It’s not easy, but he’s done this before so he knows what he’s getting into, there is a learning curve and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
NDP candidate Sheldon Hynes said via telephone that he knew it would be close. He said he wasn’t surprised when Ball won. Hynes was a placeholder candidate living in St. Albans during the election and he hopes Ball can become as strong of an MHA as possible for the people of Humber Valley.
“In order to become a strong voice you have to listen to the people,” he said. “The economic state of the district would be something he needs to address so I hope he listens to his constituents.”
Ball became MHA for the area in a byelection in 2007 and served until the general election later that year. He said his first order of business, after congratulating Kelly on a hard-fought race, is to set up an office in Deer Lake.
Ball is a prominent businessman who has been involved in various community groups in a volunteer basis.