BC Liberal incumbent Jackie Tegart has retained the Fraser-Nicola riding, defeating BC NDP challenger Aaron Sumexheltza by 282 votes.
Tegart will be returning for a third term, having won the riding during her first attempt in 2013, and winning re-election in 2017. Both times she defeated NDP candidate Harry Lali: by 614 votes in 2013, and by 524 votes in 2017.
“I’m feeling great that we came out ahead and am looking forward to the next four years,” Tegart, said, following the final ballot count in the 2020 provincial election.
“I knew it would be close because every election in Fraser-Nicola is close. Even though there were a number of press agencies that declared me elected on election night, I knew there were a lot of mail-in ballots out there, and I wasn’t going to declare a win or defeat until every vote was counted, so I waited patiently for two weeks.”
There were 2,597 mail-in and absentee ballots returned in Fraser-Nicola, and a total of 13,679 ballots were cast out of 26,500 eligible voters, meaning a turnout of 51.6 percent. Province-wide, Elections BC says that 52.4 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, either in-person or by mail.
In the final count, Tegart received 5,696 votes (41.64 percent), followed by Sumexheltza with 5,414 votes (39.58 percent) and Jonah Timms (BC Green Party), who collected 1,788 votes (13.07 percent). Independents Dennis Adamson received 438 votes (3.2 percent of total) and Mike Bhangu 343 votes (2.51 percent).
“I have to say thank you to everyone who put their name forward to run,” says Tegart. “It was a very respectful campaign, and I appreciated that.
“Thanks to everyone who voted and took part in the democratic process. We’re so lucky to live in a place that allows us to participate, so thank you to everyone who made sure their voice was heard.
“Don’t ever think your vote doesn’t count. When it’s a 41-vote difference, every vote counts,” she said.
The BC Liberals do not have a process in place for an interim leader to take over, meaning that as things stand Wilkinson will continue as leader until a new one is selected, which could be as much as two years down the road. Tegart says there will be some grassroots work done to see whether the party has the ability to put an interim leader in place, and what that process might look like.
For a full list of the final results in all 87 ridings, go to https://results.elections.bc.ca/.