After a busy final campaign day, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath took it easy as Ontarians went to the polls Thursday, arriving on foot to vote in her inner city Hamilton riding.
Accompanied by her 18-year-old son, Julian Leonetti, she stepped into the polling station at a stone church near her home.
“Don’t worry,” she joked with her son, “I won’t make you hold my hand.”
Mr. Leonetti – voting in his second election, after the federal vote last May – told reporters he was excited.
“I’m very proud of my mom,” he said.
Afterwards, Ms. Horwath reflected on her first campaign as leader, and said she planned to spend the balance of the day taking her son for lunch and holding a few meetings.
“It was hard to sleep last night with all the tossing and turning. I was so excited,” she said.
The mellow event was in sharp contrast to her final campaign rally the night before in a north Scarborough riding the NDP is trying to take from the Liberals, where boisterous supporters overflowed a cavernous campaign office in a local strip mall.
Some of the party’s highest-profile members – including former Toronto councillor and TTC chair Adam Giambrone – turned up for the boisterous event, in which supporters sometimes drowned Ms. Horwath out with chants of the party’s name.
It was the climax to a packed day that saw the NDP chief make stump speeches in eight ridings.
Ms. Horwath’s return to Hamilton, a stronghold not only for her but for her party, was tinged somewhat by Mayor Bob Bratina’s support for the rival Liberals.
Mr. Bratina, who succeeded Ms. Horwath as the city’s downtown councillor and later won the mayoralty with the backing of many rank-and-file NDP members, endorsed Dalton McGuinty’s party because of its pledge to improve rail service to Hamilton and continue uploading social services.
“It was disappointing that the mayor of our city waded into the campaign,” Ms. Horwath said of Mr. Bratina’s unusual move. “He’ll have to live with that.”
The NDP’s main election night party is scheduled for a convention centre in downtown Hamilton.