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Tim Houston speaks to reporters after being elected the new leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party at the PC leadership convention in Halifax on Oct. 27, 2018.Ted Pritchard/The Canadian Press

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives have held onto three ridings in Nova Scotia where by-elections were held Tuesday following the departure of three members of the legislature who are running in the federal election.

The by-elections took place in the Cape Breton ridings of Northside-Westmount and Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, and in the southwestern mainland riding of Argyle-Barrington.

Colton LeBlanc easily won in Argyle-Barrington and Brian Comer won by a large margin in Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

In Northside-Westmount, Conservative candidate Murray Ryan eventually prevailed in a tighter four-way race with New Democrat Ronald Crowther, Independent candidate Danny Laffin and Liberal Paul Ratchford.

Laffin ran as an Independent after he was dropped as a Conservative candidate on Aug. 14 with little explanation from Tory Leader Tim Houston.

The by-elections were called after Chris d’Entremont, Eddie Orrell and Alfie MacLeod stepped down to run for the Conservatives federally.

The outcome of the by-elections means the Liberals hold 27 of the legislature’s 51 seats, while the Tories have 17, the NDP five, and there are two Independent members.

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