For the first time in 15 years, Newmarket-Aurora voters will see a new federal Conservative candidate in the riding as Harold Kim bested Lois Brown in a nomination contest last night.
Aurora’s deputy mayor defeated the longtime candidate and former MP in what Newmarket-Aurora Conservative Association president Matt Buist described as a “fairly close race.” The association wrapped up its campaign period and voted at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 426 Aug. 5.
Kim said he was shocked by the result, but that he wanted to bring change to the party.
“As Conservatives, we need to change,” Kim said. “The communication, the branding of who we are as Conservatives. Throughout my campaigning, people have said, ‘Oh, we’re a bunch of angry people.’ No, I’m not actually angry, I’m pretty happy. We’re not the things the media portrays us to be.”
Kim, who is a first-time federal candidate, has served on Aurora council since 2014. He said he would have to step down from his position as deputy mayor when a federal election is called, though could return if he is not elected.
Brown departs from the candidate position after a long history with the riding. She first became a candidate in 2006, losing her first election but winning the next two and serving as an MP between 2008 and 2015. However, she lost two close races to the Liberals in the 2015 and 2019 elections.
“It was an incredible honour to serve Newmarket-Aurora as their member of parliament,” Brown said. “I had aspirations to go back and do that again, but obviously there’s other things ahead for me.”
Brown thanked her team and congratulated her opponent.
“We need to go forward as a united front for the next election because we have to win Newmarket-Aurora,” she said.
Kim said he did not have any preconceived notions about the results beforehand but thought it would be an uphill battle.
“Lois has had four decades of politics here in Newmarket-Aurora, I’m not even anywhere close to that,” he said. “I know that Lois, she has a lot of supporters, and people know her. And she’s a wonderful, beautiful human being.”
Buist said he is excited to have Kim as a candidate and is eager to get the formal campaign going. He said given Kim comes from Aurora, they hope to grow awareness of him in Newmarket, which has three-quarters of the riding’s population.
“We’re going to have to work with Harold and make sure we do everything possible to accelerate his profile in Newmarket,” Buist said.
According to his website, the Aurora resident is married with two children. "My family and I also have strong ties to Newmarket via our church and my wife’s role as an educator at a Newmarket school," he states.
The party did not release voting numbers for the candidate selection.
Kim said that Brown put the association in a great position, and he can piggyback off the great work that she has done.
He said the country has gone more left than he is comfortable with, and he hopes to change the perception of Conservatives in the riding.
“We don’t have control over what happens in the federal area, but grassroots, here in Newmarket-Aurora, we can affect change,” Kim said.
The 44th Canadian federal election will take place on or before Oct. 16, 2023, however, federal political parties have been finalizing campaign plans in anticipation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling an election this month.