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Cadman name assured Tory win in Surrey-North

Controversial Tory candidate Dona Cadman scored a tight win over her New Democratic Party rival to take Surrey North last night. And most observors agreed that it was her focus on crime and well-known last name that assured her victory.

Cadman beat NDP candidate Rachid Arab by just over 1,100 ballots to finish with 39.4 per cent of the popular vote, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada. Liberal candidate Marc Muhammad finished third with 15 per cent.

After media reports began to declare her victory, Cadman strode into her election night headquarters behind a kilted bagpipe player. Cheers erupted and cameras flashed.

"I've been listening to you and there's been a lot of things on your mind," she said as she addressed supporters and media. "One of them is crime – we know that that's tops there. People want to feel safe in their homes, safe on the street."

Cadman's campaign manager Jim Holt said the Tory candidate effectively portrayed herself to voters as someone that would take action on crime, one of Surrey North's biggest issues.

But Holt also admitted that his candidate's last name played an important role in the campaign.

Dona's husband, the late MP Chuck Cadman, was well-known in Surrey North as a champion of justice and crime issues. He was first elected as a Reform MP in 1997 and later won the riding as an Independent in 2004.

"You can't underestimate the strength of the Cadman name," Holt said.

Recent allegations have surfaced that the Conservative opposition under Stephen Harper tried to bribe Chuck in a crucial confidence vote just before his 2005 death.

Red FM news director Harjinder Thind said that those claims probably caused a small group voters to question Dona's campaign. But he said Chuck's history trumped most voters' concerns.

"Everybody knows his name," Thind said. "[Chuck's] memory is not gone."

Before the results came in, the NDP and Liberal candidates both attacked the Tory candidate for missing debates and remaining hush with reporters over her campaign and the bribery allegations.

Holt said that didn't affect Cadman's campaign.

"She's had a great presence where it matters, in front of people."

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Hook

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