"I'm just so proud," Jenica Atwin said after her victory in the previously Liberal riding was declared late in the night.
In an election in which climate change proved a top issue, expectations for the Green Party were high. Ultimately, however, the party was unable to make more significant gains in the Maritimes and in B.C., where they had strong support.
Hundreds of Green supporters whooped and hollered for Atwin at a small brewery on Fredericton's north side as the results came in.
Green MP Makes History In New Brunswick Riding In Tight Race
"They are going to hear me, they are going to hear us, and we are going to make the world a better place," she told them.
Both incumbent Green MPs, May and Paul Manly, who won a byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith earlier this year, were easily reelected.
Atwin led much of the night, with about 33 per cent of the vote, but Conservative Andrea Johnson wasn't far behind, with about 30 per cent.
Jenica Atwin captures historic win for the Greens in New Brunswick
Liberal Matt DeCourcey, who has held the seat for the past four years, was third, with about 27 per cent of the vote, and the NDP trailed with about six per cent.
Video: Jenica, pack your bags honey: Elizabeth May reacts to Green Partys Maritime riding win
Atwin called the results "a historic win as a Green and as a woman," and said she's ready to get started in her new role as MP.
"Canada is looking at Fredericton. They're looking at New Brunswick. So we're just so excited about this result."
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During the campaign, a lot of eyes were on the Fredericton riding, which has chosen a Liberal or Conservative in recent elections. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May spent time in the riding in the closing days of the campaign, as did Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
DeCourcey won almost half the vote in 2015, when the Liberal Party swept all 10 ridings in the province. Fredericton went Conservative in the 2008 and 2011 elections, but at the provincial level, voters have been showing increased support for the Greens.
The party had its first breakthrough in the Maritimes in 2014, when the New Brunswick Green Party leader, David Coon, won a seat in the legislature. In last year's provincial election, the Green caucus expanded to three seats.
Atwin attributed her win to door-knocking, successful debates and the support she received from Coon, whose example as an MLA she considered crucial to her success.
"[The voters] really needed to see what a Green could do before they would trust their vote in this way," she said.
Throughout the federal campaign, Atwin, who works in Indigenous education, focused on climate change, mental illness, poverty and a need for reconciliation with First Nations.
This isnt Atwins first foray into politics. She also ran unsuccessfully for provincial office in 2018.
Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? [email protected]
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TORONTO — The Green Party has made history, electing a federal candidate outside British Columbia for the first time.
Jenica Atwin, the partys candidate in the New Brunswick riding of Fredericton, won a close three-way race over Liberal incumbent Matt DeCourcey and Conservative challenger Andrea Johnson.
She is the first Green nominee other than Leader Elizabeth May ever to be elected in a general federal election.
I feel incredible. I feel so excited for whats ahead and I just want to get to work, Atwin told the CTV News Election 2019 special.
Atwin, who works as a researcher for a First Nations educational organization, had also run for the Greens in last years New Brunswick provincial election.
That election resulted in the party winning a record three seats in the provincial legislature, spurring on hopeamong Greens that a breakthrough might occur federally. Fredericton was seen as the most likely place for this to happen, in part because the party finished third there in 2015.
Speaking on the CTV News Election 2019 special as early results showed Atwin with a slight lead, May said she wasnt surprised by the result given the turnout she had seen at a rally in Fredericton early in the campaign.
Jenica Atwin brings youth, enthusiasm, commitment. Shes personally highly motivated by issues of mental health and addiction. She is a spectacular and very warm and caring person, and I think that seems to be coming through to the voters of Fredericton, May said.
Atwin said her first priorities as MP would include addressing the climate crisis and improving the state of New Brunswicks health-care system.
The Greens were hoping recent success at the provincial level in Prince Edward Island, Ontario and B.C. would translate into a significant improvement on the two seats in the House of Commons that they had at dissolution.
Early returns, however, showed Fredericton to be an outlier, with the Greens falling short in their other targeted non-B.C. ridings.
[email protected] formally crowned Green MP for the Fredericton riding tonight. History! pic.twitter.com/bXneKXLZmB
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