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Hines wins squeaker

Narrowly defeats PC Wolf by 71 votes

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – Voters voiced displeasure at the governing Liberals in the provincial election Tuesday, reducing the McNeil government's seats from 34 to 27, but incumbent Liberal Lloyd Hines pulled off a razor-thin win to keep his seat in Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie.

It wasn't until around 1 a.m. Wednesday, with the last of 44 polls reporting, that the local winner was declared. Preliminary results gave cabinet minister Hines the win with 2,565 votes, a narrow 71-vote advantage over Tory Rob Wolf's count of 2,494. The NDP's Marney Simmons, former mayor of Mulgrave, garnered 893 votes.

Just prior to the election, Hines was criticized in the report of the Ombudsman's office on its review of expenses at the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. The Ombudsman criticized Hines for spending habits while he was warden, including his use of travel advances and a municipal credit card.

During the campaign Hines had called the review "intensive" and said the people of Guysborough - Eastern Shore -Tracadie would decide what they think of it on Election Day.

Progressive Conservative Wolf, a high school guidance councillor at St. Mary's, said during the campaign that he wanted to get involved with politics as a way to help people and effect change, especially when it comes to the challenge of outmigration.

With 10,189 eligible voters in the riding, 5,952 votes were cast -- a turnout of 59 per cent. The provincial turnout was 54 per cent.

Candidates in neighbouring Cape Breton - Richmond endured the same kind of nail-biter election night, with Liberal encumbent and cabinet minister Michel Sampson losing his seat to the PC's Alana Paon by a margin of only 20 votes.