May 15, 2013 - 12:48 AM
Dan Ashton was taking nothing for granted as he awaited election results before winning Penticton's seat in the legislature.
In what was expected to be one of the tightest races in the province, Ashton led late last night with 10,489 votes, or 45.83 per cent of the vote over NDP Richard Cannings with 9,225 and 40.30 per cent. He was late taking the stage with such a close vote.
"The experts predicted something totally different than tonight. Let's just get through the last part of this and see how it goes," he said, when he finally took the podium.
He said pollsters predicted the opposite of what actually happened. Premier Christy Clark led her party to an upset majority victory with 51 seats. NDP leader Adrian Dix and his party secured only 32 seats while the Green Party took one and an independent earned a spot.
Cannings was not present at the NDP gathering at the Lakeside Resort early in the evening where there was nearly twice as many supporters. It was reported Cannings would have appeared after the results were in and a decision was made.
In contrast, Ashton was seen shaking hands and conversing with people at the Ramada Inn. He defended his competitor when asked about the NDP situation.
"Listen, these things are tough. I have the utmost respect for Dick Cannings, I've always known him to be a gentleman. It's always difficult especially if you're new."
Ashton ran his campaign using his experience running for Penticton council and for a spot on the Regional Okanagan Similkameen District board. Going for an MLA seat still left an impression though.
"It's a been a big learning curve, but there's been terrific people helping me out."
Ashton thanked his family, his campaign team and supporters. He also said the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion will be front and center for him.
"Just fantastic," is one how supporter, Diego Alcaraz, described his feelings. He said Ashton has participated in many community events over the years. "Dan Ashton is a very good amigo."
Penticton city council and the RDOS board will examine what direction to take to replace Ashton as mayor and chair.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1
SMILE FACTORY: Mayor Dan Ashton supporters were grinning ear-to-ear when Ashton was declared on Tuesday evening to be Penticton's newest MLA.
(SHANNON QUESNEL /InfoTel Multimedia)
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