NDP incumbent Leonard Krog has retained his seat in the Nanaimo riding.
Krog, with 7,139 votes from 61 of 98 polls reporting so far, is projected to win the seat against B.C. Liberal challenger Paris Gaudet (5,082), Green Party candidate Kathleen Harris (3,002) and Libertarian Bill Walker (144).
Krog, in an address to supporters at his campaign office, said the NDP has the chance to form government in B.C. today.
“It’s a neck-and-neck race and it’s late in the evening, but there’s still a possibility and it’s very exciting. I think the message from British Columbia voters is clear. They were not happy with the direction of the government and they voted in significant numbers for us or the Greens for a change in direction,” he said.
After delivering his acceptance speech at his campaign office, Krog said he will now be watching the TV “with an intense interest and profound hope” and said there’s a lot riding on those seat numbers.
He called it an honour to be re-elected in Nanaimo.
“This community has fought the fight for social economic justices for well over 100 years and it is profoundly satisfying for me to be able to carry on that fight,” he said.
Gaudet eventually conceded to Krog late Tuesday night and will wait to see if her party will get a majority or remain a minority government.
“It’s nine votes away in Courtenay-Comox, so I know they’ll have to go through that process,” said Gaudet. “Right now it’s up to the three leaders to see how things roll out. I mean it’s not over yet and I think we’ll just see what happens next, depending on the recount and the absentee ballots from Courtenay-Comox.”
People expressed concern that the Greens could take away votes from the NDP, but Harris dismissed that as a scare tactic.
”You’ll never get what you want if you don’t vote for it, so how they can call not voting for what you want a strategy? The other issue is that the experts that do the numbers on this, they all say that there’s nothing really to it because nobody knows how people are going to vote,” said Harris. “The polls have so much margin of error in them more than they typically admit to.”