Election 2008: Liberal admits Layton a ‘formidable’ opponent

The runner-up in Tuesday’s Toronto-Danforth riding admits that running against a popular federal party leader posed a more serious challenge than expected.

At a low-key post-election party Tuesday night at Rails and Ales, a pub on Danforth Ave., Liberal candidate Andrew Lang spoke about his election campaign against NDP leader Jack Layton.  He said he knew that he faced a tough opponent from the start.

“When you go up against an opponent who is formidable, you prepare yourself for a tough fight,” Lang said, “and we where prepared for a long journey and a tough fight.”

Early in the returns, it looked as though Lang posed a serious challenge to Layton’s re-election, but as the night wore on it became apparent that Layton’s seat was never seriously in doubt.

“Obviously it’s a challenge. He’s got the name recognition and he’s got the national campaign to do his campaigning for him,” Lang said.

Layton faced an uphill battle of his own presenting the NDP as a viable alternative to the Conservatives and Liberals. It didn’t materialize, but New Democrats made some gains.

“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,” Layton said.

In the end, Lang never really got close, losing to Layton by 7,125 votes, after leading very early in the night.

“We tried to get them to stop counting after two polls were in, but they wouldn’t,” Lang joked.