SIDNEY – NDP candidate Gary Holman is cautiously accepting congratulations upon being declared elected in Saanich North and the Islands in an incredibly close race in the B.C. provincial election.
Holman has an estimated 52-vote lead over B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts with 162 of 162 polls reporting from the riding to Elections B.C.
“I won’t believe I’m elected until Elections B.C. confirms it,” he said in a call with the News Review Tuesday night.
He said there is still the counting of mail-in and absentee ballots to come — and that and the final tally won’t happen until May 27 by Elections B.C.
According to Elections B.C. preliminary data, here’s how the race is looking in the riding:
NDP candidate Gary Holman: 9,681
B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts: 9,629
Green Party candidate Adam Olsen: 9,294 votes
Independent candidate Scott McEachern: 567
Province-wide, it appears the Liberals will maintain their majority. According to the CBC, NDP leader Adrian Dix has conceded the election to Liberal leader Christy Clark.
Holman, who was at his Sidney campaign office earlier this evening watching the results come in, told the News Review the provincial results so far were disconcerting, showing a lead for the Liberals.
“It’s disconcerting, given the polls,” he said. “But the voters are always right, by definition.”
Holman was to head downtown Victoria to be with other south Island NDP candidates.
He said his narrow victory represents big change in a riding held by the Liberals for 12 years. Again, he said he’ll be on pins and needles until the final vote count later this month.
As for the province-wide result, Holman said it’s clearly disappointing for his party. South Island MLAs, he said, will now have t work very hard with local government and other groups to ensure the Liberals hear their needs.
Roberts, also in Sidney tonight, said he’s happy to see his party back in a majority government. Roberts and his party leader faced very close races in their respective ridings, with Clark trailing the NDP’s David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey by 360 votes.
Roberts said his own riding will come down to the wire and some of his supporters added the final result could come down to the mail-in and absentee ballots, which are counted later in the month.
As for the majority held onto by his party, Roberts said it’s fantastic and reflects the voters’ desire to have a part in government committed to the economy and seeing a more prosperous province.
“The Liberals have always had a plan for that,” he said.
As for Saanich North and the Islands, Roberts said the result – a close race on election night – is a result of a variety of factors. Those include a green movement on the Peninsula and a senior population that has tended to be more conservative.
The Green Party’s Adam Olsen was in Brentwood Bay at his campaign office earlier in the evening and planned on being in Oak Bay with fellow candidate Andrew Weaver later in the evening.
Saanich North and the Islands has been in B.C. Liberal hands for 12 years, most recently held by former MLA Murray Coell. Holman came within 245 votes of Coell in 2009.
Official results will be tallied by Elections B.C. in an official count on May 27.