Hunter 'happy' with close NDP showing in Kamloops-North Thompson | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Hunter 'happy' with close NDP showing in Kamloops-North Thompson

Sadie Hunter.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Stacey Krolow Photography
November 11, 2020 - 12:07 PM

For Sadie Hunter, the real stress did not come on election night, Oct. 24.

It was this past Sunday, when it was down to the wire for the NDP candidate in Kamloops-North Thompson as she edged ever closer to incumbent Liberal MLA Peter Milobar.

Hunter was 791 votes behind when all the votes were counted on election night, but she knew victory was still in sight.

“I didn’t think it was over,” she told “All the predictions and all the analysis done throughout the campaign period, as the polls and votes were coming in, indicated it was going to be close at the end of the day, especially when we knew how many mail-in ballots were coming in. It was going to be less than one per cent.”

She also knew there was a good chance that the large number of mail-in ballots – around 6,000 – would likely skew more heavily towards the NDP, partly because NDP voters seemed to be more cautious about COVID-19.

She was right about that.

The final count left her only 196 votes behind Milobar.

Close but not close enough for an automatic judicial recount.

Such a count was triggered in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky because the vote difference was less than .2 per cent of the total number of votes cast. In Kamloops-North Thompson, that gap was .8 per cent.

Still, there was the option of asking for a recount, which candidates can do if the vote difference is less than 100 (.2 per cent would have been about 45 votes) or if they can challenge the legitimacy of some or all of the ballots.

Hunter was not about to take that route.

“When the validation process was completed there wasn’t any indication that we should be concerned,” she said. “I have full confidence in the Elections B.C. volunteers and the process so I wasn’t going to cast a negative light on anything.”

Kamloops-North Thompson was one of two close ridings in the Interior that normally lean heavily towards the Liberals. Last time, Milobar had an 18 per cent margin of victory.

The Vernon-Monashee riding did flip when the mail-in ballots were counted, with incumbent Liberal Eric Foster losing to the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu.

READ MORE: 10 years since her life came crashing down, Vernon-Monashee's new MLA offers example of resiliency

In both ridings, B.C. Conservative Party candidates took a sizeable number of votes but Hunter doesn’t put the close race down to that factor alone.

“It’s an indication that people were looking for a change,” Hunter said. “Maybe it comes down to the candidate as well.”

Hunter is a first time Kamloops city councillor while Milobar is a former Kamloops mayor.

Hunter is satisfied with the outcome.

“Of course, there is going to be some little disappointment, but, I was happy with the results because I did come that close,” she said. “I think that says a lot. And I’m not going anywhere.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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