The election drama that unfolded across the province last night barely made a ripple in the Kootenay West riding.
An hour after the polling stations had closed and 45 of the 115 ballot boxes reporting, NDP incumbent Katrine Conroy was already declared the winner.
All that was left was for the final totals.
On a night when the B.C. Liberal Party shocked the experts with its win, it was all too predictable in Kootenay West.
With 114 out of 115 ballot boxes reported, Conroy collected 62.99 per cent of the support with a total of 10,606 votes.
B.C. Liberal Party candidate Jim Postnikoff was second with 3,592 votes and 21.33 per cent of the support.
Independent candidate Joseph Hughes from Nakusp finished third with 13.30 per cent of the vote and a total of 2,239 votes. Independent candidate Glen Byle from Trail had 400 votes and 2.38 per cent of the support.
At her headquarters in Castlegar, Conroy thanked supporters and her team.
“I have an amazing team,” Conroy told Castlegar News reporter Marvin Beatty.
“I’ve got to thank all the people in this constituency that worked so hard to get us elected here. I don’t do this by myself. There’s still lots to do – we’ll get the office tidied up and carry on.”
She also shared her concerns at the stunning provincial result, which saw the B.C. Liberal Party retain power.
“(A Liberal victory) would make it harder but I’ve always worked hard in this constituency and will continue to work hard and will continue to represent the people of this area,” said Conroy. “Hopefully, I can continue the work I’ve been doing with seniors and making sure those issues are being addressed. We’ll continue to fight for what’s right and what needs to be done in this province.”
Conroy was first elected as the MLA for West Kootenay-Boundary in 2005 before the boundaries were redrawn in 2008. She won the Kootenay West riding in the 2009 provincial election and served as opposition critic for Seniors and Long-term Care.
In the 2009 election, Conroy took 66 per cent of the vote and won by over 8,000 votes ahead of the Liberal Party’s Brenda Binnie.
In neighbouring ridings, early results showed incumbent NDP candidate Michelle Mungall of Nelson-Creston retained her seat while the Boundary-Similkameen riding stayed Liberal with Linda Larson topping the polls.
The Kootenay East riding, with half of its ballot boxes reporting, had incumbent Liberal MLA Bill Bennett retaining his seat with over 63 per cent of the vote.
According Elections BC final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of the final count, which will commence on May 27. That count ensures all the absentee votes are counted and the preliminary results are confirmed.