May 14, 2013 - 11:38 PM
"WITH NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS, WE KICKED BUTT"
Despite predictions Vernon-Monashee would be a close three-way race, incumbent Liberal Eric Foster actually increased his popularity, winning by a higher percentage than in 2009.
Foster showed an early lead which he maintained throughout the night. "This is what we expected, we thought it would be a bit tighter, but we're not surprised," party organizer Geoff Ingram says.
Foster received 11.282 votes, or 46.87 per cent, beating NDP Mark Olsen, who had 33.85 per cent. Scott Anderson, with the Conservatives, claimed 11.91 per cent and Green Rebecca Helps earned 6.73 per cent. Independent Korry Zepik received less than one per cent of votes.
Foster spoke to reporters about his win at the Schubert Center, surrounded by a crowd of supporters, all eager to shake his hand or give him a congratulatory hug.
"It speaks to the hard work we've done in this riding," he says. "I can't wait to get back to Victoria, we've got a bunch of work to get done."
Foster increased his support since the 2009 election, when he received 32.27 per cent of votes.
"It's because the premier was here, she said I was going to win by more than last time, and I guess she's never wrong," Foster says.
He says he's not surprised by what happened locally or provincially.
"The voters chose, and they chose to manage our money," he says.
Asked if he was ever concerned about the Conservatives gaining a foothold, Foster said of course he was.
"If you're not concerned about absolutely everything, you will get beat. The Conservatives didn't turn out to be much of a threat."
NDP candidate Mark Olsen, and Conservative Scott Anderson both made brief visits to congratulate Foster.
Anderson said he was "obviously disappointed" but felt he ran a good campaign.
"We fought a good battle, we couldn't have done better than we did. We doubled our percentage from the last time we ran here," he said. The Conservative candidate earned 8.15 per cent in 2009.
He said the public came to fear the NDP which is what swept the power over to the Liberals.
"We intend to run again next time. This is a battle, not the war," Anderson said.
Anderson expects to run again in the next election, and until then he says the Liberals will "have somebody looking over their shoulder."
Olsen is surprised, disappointed, yet still very proud of his campaign and the team that ran it.
"The people have chosen and we have to live with that. I want to congratulate Eric and the other candidates. I want to thank my campaign team. I'm a winner just knowing them," Olsen said.
He says it's still soon for him to analyze what happened—why the NDP drooped when the polls had put them ahead. "You have to wonder where our polls are basing their numbers," he said.
On both a local and provincial level, Olsen is surprised the NDP didn't do better.
"I don't think anybody saw it coming. I thought it would be a closer race, and I'm surprised by the outcome. We worked hard to get our message out, but (the Liberals) were more successful," he said.
He says his goal was to run an honourable campaign, which he believes he succeeded in.
"It is what it is," he said.
This was Olsen's second time running, and he says he'll have to pause and "re-evaluate some things" before making a decision to run again.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013