(File Photo by QMI Agency) Hugh McFadyen will be stepping down as provincial Conservative leader.
If there was any time for the Tories to take power, this was it.
Popular, charismatic NDP Premier Gary Doer is gone. It's rare for any government to be elected four times in a row.
But Hugh McFadyen's Progressive Conservatives couldn't pull it off Tuesday and the New Democrats were catapulted to a fourth consecutive majority.
Early poll results suggested the Tories failed to pick up any additional seats.
Party faithful gathered at Canad-Inns Polo Park in a room decked out in Tory blue - complete with matching cowbells as noisemakers - for what they hoped would be a victory party.
Remain As Leader Until Replacement Is Selected
Instead, McFadyen's concession speech became an announcement that he's inviting others to step up and lead the party. He will stay on until a new leader is selected, he said.
The TV broadcast of McFadyen's speech was interrupted as all the TV networks switched to Greg Selinger's victory speech, which started about a minute after McFadyen's. Traditionally the winner waits for the concession speech to end before speaking.
McFadyen, who was first elected as a PC MLA in the Fort Whyte riding in a 2005 byelection, became Tory leader in April 2006, succeeding Stuart Murray.
This was McFadyen's second provincial campaign at the helm of the party. He lost out to Premier Gary Doer in 2007, when the NDP won their third-straight majority government.
McFadyen had previously served as an advisor to former Tory Premier Gary Filmon in the 1990s and served as campaign manager for Mayor Sam Katz's successful mayoral campaign in 2004.
McFadyen's campaign largely focussed on law-and-order issues and arguing that the Tories offered more viable long-term fiscal management than the NDP.
Throughout the campaign, the NDP targetted McFadyen's past work for Premier Gary Filmon. NDP ads made claims the Tories would privatize Hydro, based on McFadyen's role as Gary Filmon's "right hand man" when the Tories of the 1990s privatized MTS.
New Democrat TV spots also made the claim that Manitoba's previous Conservative government, which McFadyen had been a part of, "fired 1,000 nurses" during the 1990s. The TV ad also poked fun at the quality of McFadyen's suits.