Election 2008: Chow remains solid for NDP in Trinity Spadina

It was a tale of two moods Tuesday night in the closely fought riding of Trinity-Spadina, in downtown Toronto.

The mood at Christine Innes’ campaign headquarters was subdued but hopeful minutes after the polls closed.

Supporters and campaign workers cheered as the first numbers flashed on the big-screen TV – showing Innes in a neck-and-neck race with NDP incumbent Olivia Chow.

Poll scrutineers and other campaign workers arrived and ran upstairs to catch the results. One said, “Oh my God!” as she digested what seemed like early indications of a Conservative win.

Another yelled, “Whoo! You go, Christine!” when she saw that Innes was trailing Chow, but only by a slight margin.

But as it became clear that Chow would win, people sat quietly watching the TV. And there were only about 40 people at the gathering – volunteers for Innes and media personnel.

It was a different story at the NDP victory party celebrations at Kool Haus on Queen’s Quay, which Chow shared with her husband, NDP Leader Jack Layton – also the Toronto-Danforth MP. A noisy crowd of more than a thousand packed the venue and cheered as both Chow and Layton swept to victory in their respective ridings.

The New Democrats as a whole did well on Tuesday, adding eight NDP seats to the House. Peter Tabuns, provincial MPP for Toronto-Danforth, joined the celebration. He said the results were due to the top-notch campaign put forward by the federal NDP this time around.

“Across the country, I don’t think we’ve seen an NDP campaign that sophisticated and that focused in the past,” he said. “That’s not to denigrate anyone else; I just think it was an excellent one. Announced and leading in 38 ridings? I think that shows we’re doing pretty good.”

Opening his victory speech, Layton seemed pleased with his party’s performance.

“We didn’t quite get the gold medal this election, but we did give it our best shot and it was a very good shot indeed,” he said.