Simons projected to win, Darwin not ready to concede

Incumbent MLA Nicholas Simons holds the lead in Powell River-Sunshine Coast and is projected to win, but Kim Darwin of the Greens says she’s not prepared to concede the race until the mail-in ballots are counted.

As of 1:58 a.m. Oct 25,  Elections BC had reported votes from 100 of 100 ballot boxes, showing Simons with 7,719 votes (48 per cent), Darwin with 5,541 votes (34.5 per cent), and Liberal Sandra Stoddart-Hansen with 2,811 (17.5 per cent) of the 16,071 votes counted – a pattern that had been consistent for much of the night.

“Obviously there are a number of votes still to count, but I think I’m very, very pleased with the confidence I seem to have been trusted with,” said Simons, speaking from his home in Powell River. “I’m pleased to see that the message that we've been giving has resonated with people in British Columbia.”

Simons said he doesn’t think the apparent growth of Green support came at the NDP’s expense and wasn’t necessarily a message for the NDP.

“I don't know people actually vote as a message necessarily, but I do recognize that there were people who were not happy with some of the policies or the decisions that were made,” he said. “I get a message every time there’s an election, I think we all learn something.”

Darwin said with an estimated 8,338 mail-in ballots still to be counted, she’s not prepared to concede.

“In a normal election if these numbers were what we were seeing, I’d say yes. But there’s this wild card out there right now and I just I can’t do it. Not yet,” she told Coast Reporter during a small gathering with supporters at a Sechelt restaurant.

Darwin said she was pleased overall with the Green result across the province. 

As of 11 p.m., three Green candidates were projected to win, including party leader Sonia Furstenau and former Gibsons councillor Jeremy Valeriote, who ran in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

“When you see how much gains we’ve had, it’s pretty incredible,” she said. “And the odds were always stacked against us with the snap election.”

Stoddart-Hansen, who watched the results from home with supporters and family, offered congratulations to Simons.

“It appears he’s en route to another victory in the riding, and [congratulations] to Kim, who had a really good showing,” Stoddart-Hansen said. “Obviously, the results overall are disappointing for me as a B.C. Liberal supporter from many years back, but the public have spoken.”

Stoddart-Hansen, the only rookie candidate in the race, said she was honoured to run.

“I'm disappointed but I understand that this is the democratic process at work,” she said. “I've worked on many campaigns in the past and this was extremely difficult and very different from any other campaign because of COVID and because of the nature of the snap election, which in my case only left me three weeks to mobilize and get started on the campaign.”

The results posted Oct. 24 do not include the 8,338 mail-in ballots that were requested across the riding, votes cast at the district electoral office or absentee votes. Those ballots will not be counted for at least 13 days when the final count process starts.

Elections BC said it would not be able to give a riding-by-riding breakdown of the mail-in ballots that were returned by the Oct. 24, 8 p.m. deadline until sometime next week.

- with files from Sophie Woodrooffe

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