11/27/2012 04:00 EST | Updated 01/26/2013 05:12 EST

Tories easily hold on to Durham Region seat in federal byelection

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - The Conservatives have held onto the riding of Durham east of Toronto in a federal byelection.

Former air force pilot turned corporate lawyer Erin O'Toole easily won the seat for the Tories on Monday by taking half the vote.

The riding was vacated by Bev Oda, who resigned the federal Conservative cabinet in July in the wake of a series of spending and expense controversies.

O'Toole told roughly three dozen supporters at a Royal Canadian Legion hall in Bowmanville, Ont., that his No. 1 priority in Ottawa will be creating new jobs in the region.

His father John represents Durham for the Progressive Conservatives at Queen's Park and was among the first to greet the newly minted MP as he entered the legion hall.

O'Toole said the scandals swirling around Oda prior to her departure weren't a major concern of citizens he met while campaigning.

"That came up less and less as we got our message out and as people got to know me as a candidate and realized I'm from this community."

The Durham vote was one of three byelections held yesterday.

The Tories also squeaked out a win in Calgary Centre, while NDP candidate Murray Rankin captured the Victoria riding in a tough battle with Green party candidate Donald Galloway.