Skip to content

'Real nail-biter': Downey wins, commends Lehman on campaign

'I'm just so proud and so touched by the amount of people who put themselves put there to support me and support out party,' says PC incumbent following win in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte
2022-06-02 Downey victory speech SG
Doug Downey, the Progressive Conservative incumbent in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, gives his victory speech in front of friends and supporters late Thursday night at Vespra Hills Golf Club.

The race was tight from beginning to end, but as the polls closed to bring the Ontario election to an end, Progressive Conservative incumbent Doug Downey was re-elected MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM). 

Downey took the podium around midnight as the final two polling stations had yet to come in. 

At one point, when the margin over Liberal candidate Jeff Lehman was around 500 votes, Downey told BarrieToday they "were just being cautious."

But when Downey stepped up to the podium to a more alert and jubilant crowd of friends and supporters, he was able to let some humour out.

"I made two speeches and don't need one now. Anybody want one?" Downey joked.

Around 70 people were on hand at the Vespra Hills Golf Club for Downey’s election night gathering and remained fairly quiet for most of the night as he and Lehman were in a dead heat for much of the evening.

For about 30 minutes, Lehman — who took a leave of absence as mayor of Barrie to run provincially — held a two-vote lead.

BarrieToday asked Downey what was going through his mind as waited for the final tally. 

"Boy, that was a real nail-biter," said Downey. "I'm just so proud and so touched by the amount of people who put themselves out there to support me and support our party."

Downey spoke highly of Lehman, crediting his opponent with a great campaign.

"Congratulations on a well-fought race. It was never personal," he said. "It was always about the issues and ideas and that's the way it should be. Jeff is a formidable person to run against and congratulations to him and the other candidates."

The BSOM riding was created in 2015 and was first contested in the 2018 general election, where Downey received 20,445 of the votes. His win then was 7,554 votes more than the second place NDP candidate and 14,235 more than the then Liberal representative. 

On this night, though, it was much closer. Downey's margin of victory over Lehman was 609 votes, according to the unofficial results from Elections Ontario. Downey had 16.114 votes to Lehman's 15,505.