Former Hay River councillor Vince McKay has taken the Hay River South seat, beating incumbent Rocky Simpson and former infrastructure minister Wally Schumann.
Elections NWT said that with all polls reporting, McKay unofficially had 282 votes, while Schumann had 238 and Simpson had 210.
The outcome came as a surprise to some, given McKay was up against two candidates who had already served terms in the Legislative Assembly.
Schumann was Hay River South’s MLA from 2015 to 2019, also serving as the NWT’s minister of infrastructure and industry. He lost to Simpson in the 2019 election.
McKay is a relative newcomer to the territorial political scene. He previously told Cabin Radio he worked in the Department of Justice for corrections for 24 years and was a councillor in Hay River before stepping back in 2018.
Asked about his win over Simpson and Schumann, McKay said: “It feels good – very good candidates to challenge and I’m happy we all had a good campaign.”
Speaking to Cabin Radio on Tuesday evening, Schumann said: “We always figured it was going to be a tight race but I thought I’d come out on top, to be honest with you.”
He thanked his supporters and the entire community.
“Voter turnout is up over the last election by almost 100 votes, so that’s a clear indication people are interested in what’s going on,” Schumann said.
Asked what’s next, Schumann said he will probably take a step back politically, adding he managed to keep busy after the last election, including by helping to bring the Ekati diamond mine out of bankruptcy.
“I’ve got my fingers in lots of things, still,” he said.
McKay thanked his family, his friends and the community of Hay River. He said his message to his supporters is that he’s going to work.
“I have to start work tomorrow. And that’s all I’ll be doing,” he said, adding he will bring his passion for the community to the 20th Legislative Assembly.
“There’s a lot of things that have to be done, but for me, I’m going to have Hay River on my back at the Legislative Assembly.”