Terry Dowdall wins Conservative nomination

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Conservatives have chosen Terry Dowdall as their candidate for Simcoe-Grey in the next federal election.

Dowdall, Essa Township mayor and deputy warden for the County of Simcoe, beat out Gillian Yeates, Marc Biss and Tim Bulmer for the win.

Hundreds of party members came out to the Simcoe-Grey Conservative Electoral District Association nomination meeting at Stayner Collegiate Institute March 24. The day opened with speeches at 10 a.m. and voting using a ranked ballot continued through the day until the candidate was announced at 6 p.m.

At that time, MP Kellie Leitch made remarks thanking the nominees for their participation.

Leitch announced in January that she would not seek re-election. That was after Dowdall and Yeates were approved to challenge the nomination but before Biss and Bulmer joined the race.

A couple days before the nomination meeting Leitch came out in support of Biss and Bulmer calling them the “only real Conservatives” in the race.

Dowdall said he has spent the first few days of his candidacy responding to messages before heading to Ottawa this week, at Leitch’s invitation, to meet some of the party people.

He said he hopes the focus now turns toward next year’s federal election and that everyone works toward a Conservative win.

“I worked hard right until the end and you hope people recognize it but I was certainly excited because there were a lot of good candidates running. It certainly wasn’t a gimme,” said Dowdall. “Through it all the best news is we sold lots of memberships and got more people and I think it’s going to help in 2019. Every candidate has said they are behind the pick and they are behind the party so that bodes well for us in 2019.”

Leitch will continue in her role as Member of Parliament until the end of the term and Dowdall will continue in his role as mayor until the municipal election in October, bringing his 18-year career in municipal politics to a close.

He said he has been focused on the future but took some time Sunday to reflect on the past.

“It’s happy that you won and also sad. I have a lot of good relationships with people in the community, volunteer firefighters, staff and other politicians but there’s good people coming up who are going to replace me,” said Dowdall.

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