The first bottle of champagne popped at Jordan Sturdy's election headquarters just after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, once it became clear the Liberal candidate had defeated NDP candidate Ana Santos by 10,101 votes to 6,288. The relief was almost tangible.
As the early results came in Santos appeared to have the lead, but it was not to be. Despite her loss, however, the NDP gained momentum in the riding by taking over 2,000 more votes than in the last provincial election in 2009. That may have been a result gained at a cost to the Green Party, which lost almost the same number of votes this time around.
Sturdy said on Wednesday morning that his priorities include building tourism infrastructure, working with First Nations and other stakeholders on the Garibaldi Park master plan, getting access back to the Meager Creek area and to consider the long-term future of Howe Sound, which he described as "the missing piece in the puzzle." He also called the development of renewable resources his "specific area of interest."
Sturdy said: "We have more in this riding than some countries have... Being in government now is going to give us many more opportunities. We have a jewel here and I really want to work hard for it."
At his Squamish campaign headquarters watching the results roll in on Tuesday night with around 20 family members, friends and supporters, Sturdy called it "an amazing result."
"I don't frankly think I was planning for this," Sturdy said, gesturing at the TV where results were coming in showing the NDP's poor result.
"You're actually going to have to work over there!" yelled a woman in the back of the room to much laughter.
"Everybody else seemed to have a lot more confidence than I did," Sturdy joked. "I thought 'if I don't make it then I dodged a bullet' so I guess I didn't dodge the bullet."
Sturdy added that he was looking forward to learning how the legislature works, "and if it's all as bizarre as everybody seems to think it is. I'll do my best to find myself in a position that can reflect well on us and we can get things done."
Supporters nibbled on J-shaped cookies and sipped beer and wine as the results came in for Sturdy. When it looked like they would win supporters shared champagne, the first bottle being opened by co-chair of Sturdy's campaign chair Lisa Ames. She said their campaign office had previously been a daycare centre with "NDP orange walls" that she and Sturdy had painted over themselves.
Ames also managed poll-count numbers being phoned in by their team of election scrutineers throughout the riding, which showed, contrary to Elections BC results, that Sturdy was pulling in a higher number of votes than his competitors.
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