Ricardo Grant mounted a strong campaign in the by-election for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, a Progressive Liberal Party stronghold, but he lost to Kingsley Smith by over 878 votes.
Smith secured 2150 votes and Grant got 1272 votes; Lincoln Bain of the Coalition of Independents captured 307 votes.
History has proven that the government of the day wins by-elections in the Bahamas, which was another setback for Grant in an area that has predominantly voted for the PLP, except in 2017 when FNM’s Pakeisha Parker won against Obediah Wilchcombe who died in September, making the seat vacant for a by-election.
Wilchcombe served for three consecutive terms before losing to Edgecombe who has proven that the area is winnable in a general election, which depends a large degree on people’s assessment of the government’s record at the end of a five-year term.
Grant may have lost now, but could win in the general election if he keeps ‘working the grounds’ because by-elections and general elections are different.
Voters’ political behavior differs during a by-election than a general election. And the government of the day has access to more resources to expend in one constituency than if the entire country was heading to the polls.
Chairman of the FNM, Duane Sands lost to Ryan Pinder (now the attorney general) in the Elizabeth Estates constituency in a by-election in 2010 (when PLP Malcolm Adderly resigned his seat) and also lost in the 2012 general election, but he won the 2017 election.
Grant must remain steadfast.
“The focus remains on the citizens of West Grand Bahama and Bimini. We will hold the government’s feet to the fire,” Grant said after the loss.
“I don’t just pass through here, I live here. This is my home…I am invested here…My family is here…The fight here is personal and it will remain personal…We will continue to partner together to continue to do the best we can with what we have.”