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Saskatoon Meewasin byelection: NDP claims victory as Teed takes commanding share of vote

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Saskatchewan New Democratic Party candidate Nathaniel Teed had a strong lead once the count got underway in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection — a trend that never faltered as the night wore on.

Just before 10 p.m., with all 53 ballot boxes reporting, the mood was jubilant at Teed's election night party at the Park Town Hotel after the NDP candidate captured a commanding 57 per cent of the vote.

In a news release issued later in the evening, NDP Leader Carla Beck claimed victory.

“I am truly honoured to welcome Nathaniel Teed to the NDP team – our newest and youngest member of the Saskatchewan legislature," Beck said in the release.

"Nathaniel inspired so many people in the riding with his hard work, dedication, and unbridled enthusiasm."

According to the NDP, Teed is the first openly gay person elected to the Legislative Assembly.

"I can only imagine what this win means to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, both young and old," Beck said.

"Representation is really important to me," Teed said while speaking with reporters while celebrating his win.

"And I believe that this is a step forward in ensuring that diverse voices are heard in the legislature," Teed said.

The NDP also said Teed's win was notable for another reason. Teed took the largest percentage of the vote of any candidate in 40 years, the party said.

Saskatchewan Party candidate Kim Groff came in second place with 37 per cent of the vote.

While the initial counts showing promise were greeted with cheers, the mood soon became somber at Groff's election night gathering at his downtown Saskatoon campaign office.

Groff said he believed the race would be "closer."

"Just the conversations we had with people on the doorsteps were excellent. They're a very engaged electorate and (they were) good conversations, and we anticipated it to be closer," Groff said.

"We hoped for a different result tonight, certainly that's why we ran. We had a good candidate, a great team," Premier Scott Moe said while speaking to media at Groff's campaign office.

"You know at the end of the day, this is this is a challenging seat — not only for us — but it has been a challenging seat for the opposition NDP as well in elections gone by," Moe said.

By the end of the night, Saskatchewan Liberal Party leader Jeff Walters and Buffalo Party candidate Mark Friesen trailed far behind with just under 3 per cent of the tally each.

The Green Party's Jacklin Andrews captured just over one per cent of the vote.

The byelection was triggered following former NDP leader Ryan Meili's departure from the legislature in June. 

Meili stepped down as leader following a bylection loss earlier this year in a constituency widely seen as an NDP stronghold.

According to Elections Saskatchewan, 2,575 votes were cast during five days of advance polling.

That represents a significant uptick from the last Saskatoon Meewasin byelection held in 2017, where 1,737 votes were cast in advance polling.

Monday evening's tally represented the first preliminary count in the byelection.

A second preliminary count of mail-in ballots which will occur on Sept. 28 is unlikely to significantly affect the outcome of the byelection.

The final count is set for Oct. 8.

With files from Dan Shingoose and Laura Woodward.

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