Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois made a commanding political debut Monday night as he retained the Quebec Solidaire seat in the Gouin by-election.

Former MNA Francoise David vacated the riding when she suddenly retired in January.

Nadeau-Dubois was recently chosen as the male spokesperson for Quebec Solidaire, and ran in Gouin against 12 other candidates.

By the time he made his victory speech at 9:30 p.m., Nadeau-Dubois had received with 69 per cent of the votes, with Liberal Jonathan Marleau in second at 9 per cent and Optional Nationale candidate Vanessa Dion close behind him at 8 per cent.

"Whether people voted for me or not, I will represent them," Nadeau-Dubois said as he claimed his win. "I will promise to hold consultations to get proposals and ideas from people."

He added that politicians need to be held accountable, and promised to continue the work of David.

Nadeau-Dubois came out fighting in a message to Premier Philippe Couillard, saying that voters won't be duped, and that "in Gouin and everywhere else, your policies won't pass anymore," adding that Quebec Soldaire "won a battle but there are many more to come."

Nadeau-Dubois said his team of 300 volunteers worked tirelessly this weekend to get the vote out.

"We did a true grassroots rank-and-file campaign. We did hundreds of door-to-door nights, we met thousands of citizens in Gouin," he said, adding in his victory speech: "We're not going to win people's hearts by being in the media, we win them by mobilizing, looking at people eye to eye."

At a celebration at Quebec Solidaire headquarters, David had high praise for her successor, saying his election has left her optimistic for the future of the party. 

"I'm proud of Quebec Solidaire, I'm proud of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, I'm proud of the people in my neighbourhood," she said. "I'm not really surprised because I went in the last days on the streets and in the parks and talked with the people. The majority told me they would vote for him."

Second place Marleau is a former student leader who was also the leader of the youth wing of the Liberal party.

The candidate for the Coalition Avenir Quebec was Benjamin Belair, a philosophy professor at CEGEP Montmorency.

There were 10 other candidates in the riding, including Alexandre Cormier-Denis of the Parti Independantiste. He made waves when his campaign signs denouncing immigration were removed by police following complaints.

The Parti Quebecois opted not to run a candidate in the Gouin by-election as part of a thwarted bid to entice Quebec Solidaire to form a coalition in the next provincial election.

Nadeau-Dubois acknowledges that it upset some voters in the riding.

“We've heard about it on the ground, but still, the people of Gouin know Quebec Solidaire. They have chosen us two times in the past,” he said.

Other parties said they were trying to court upset PQ supporters.

The Liberals haven't won the riding since the 1970s, but Marleau said he was making inroads.

“I wanted to change politics, I wanted to be effective. I wanted to show what I think should be a good campaign and that's what I did,” he said.

Belair’s message was that for a real change, voters should turn to the CAQ, adding that he was even surprised by the appreciation he’s been shown.

“A lot of Montrealers discovered that we have a lot of ideas that meet their aspirations,” he said. “People are very open to listen to our ideas. They discover we have a great program.”

Despite shooing the PQ, Nadeau-Dubois gave credit to Option Nationale, saying his opponent Dion ran an excellent and inspiring campaign and that he hopes to one day work with them.