At the moment Sheryl Yakeleya learned she had won the Dehcho seat, after hours of waiting with baited breath, Cabin Radio was on the line.
At around 11:30pm on Tuesday, Cabin Radio called Yakeleya for her perspective on the race with one polling station still counting votes. At the time, Elections NWT’s unofficial results showed her leading Steven Vandell and incumbent Ron Bonnetrouge.
While talking to a reporter, raised voices can be heard as she exclaims: “Oh my God, there’s a scream next door. There’s a scream next door, oh my God!”
She added: “Oh my goodness! Oh my God, I’m elected!”
“I’m getting tired, but I’m excited and there’s a whole bunch of people here,” Yakeleya had told Cabin Radio moments before her win.
She said she found leading the poll to be “pretty unbelievable” and added: “I’m happy the people went out and voted, whoever voted. Whether or not they voted for me … I’ll still be their MLA.”
Yakeleya ultimately won with 229 votes, ousting Bonnetrouge, who received 146 votes. Vandell received 178 votes and Richard C Lafferty 27.
“Well, it’s a new day and we now have a new MLA Dehcho,” he wrote. “I congratulated her last night and suggested she have fun, as I have the last four years.”
“Mahsi to all who supported me in my political journey and on election night, but it was not meant to be this time around,” Bonnetrouge continued. “Please congratulate Sheryl and wish her well in her political journey.”
Yakeleya’s message to the other candidates is simple: “Thank you for putting your name forward,” she said.
“Everybody has a right to practise their democratic right and congratulations to all of them,” she said. “Whatever happens, we have to work together.”