9:44 p.m. update
Independent candidate in Sault Ste. Marie, Naomi Sayers just congratulated Ross Romano - PC on his predicted win. He currently sits at 47.1 per cent of the vote with Michele McCleave-Kennedy - NDP sitting at 37.4 per cent and 38 of 60 polls counted.
Romano earned his seat in the Legislature during the Sault's 2017 by-election, and again in 2018 after he defeated NDP candidate Michele McCleave-Kennedy by 414 votes.
Serving as Ontario's Minister of Government and Consumer Services since 2021, Romano told SooToday when opening his campaign offices that proud of the work he's been able to accomplish over the last four years in government.
"We've built critical infrastructure in our community like long-term care and hospitals," he says. "We've expanded our road infrastructure. We've been able to do something very monumental in terms of investments in our advanced manufacturing sector. We've also created better and higher paying jobs here in the Sault, and we're going to continue doing that."
Over the course of the pandemic, Ontario faced multiple lockdowns as hospitals and long-term care homes became overwhelmed with COVID cases. Romano is confident there will be no further lockdowns under a re-elected Ford government.
During the campaign Romano faced criticism that he was not very available to his constituents. Some even said he did not live in the riding.
He told SooToday that it was a "completely inappropriate" smear campaign.
"People are calling us, saying that NDP door-knockers are coming to their home in the last three days and telling them that I don't live in Sault Ste. Marie," Romano said during a SooToday interview on Friday
"I use the word 'gutter politics' but honestly it's far beneath gutter politics – what they're doing right now," he said.
9:38 p.m. original story
Here are some scenes from the NDP and Progressive Conservative gatherings on election night.