The NDP’s Mitzi Dean has been declared the winner in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding.
Cheers rang out at Dean’s View Royal headquarters as arrived just after 10 p.m., after having been declared the next MLA for the riding.
Dean credited a strong NDP platform and her team’s work on the ground as the definitive factors in her win.
“I feel really proud. Our team has worked really really hard,” she said.
The final counts had her leading BC Liberals’ Barb Desjardins by 4,239 votes with all 80 polls reporting. The Greens’ Andy MacKinnon sat third, 750 behind Desjardins.
Dean, a political newcomer who is best known in the community as the executive director for the Pacific Centre Family Services Association in Colwood, is looking to hold onto a seat that the NDP has held since 2005. A sizeable crowd of supporters, including outgoing MLA Maurine Karigianis, gathered at her View Royal campaign office.
She highlighted housing and transportation as the major issues facing the riding.
“We know that affordability is a really important crisis that we need to sort out. People need to have services as well and they need to have them where they need them and when they need them,” she told reporters.
“We (need) to take some action on transit. That can really help improve the quality of people’s lives.”
Desjardins was a high profile challenger for the Liberals and is currently in her third term as the mayor of Esquimalt. She’s also the current chair of the Capital Regional District board.
Metchosin councillor Andy MacKinnon was neck-and-neck with Desjardins for second place in the riding. The semi-retired botanist is teaching a field course in Tofino and was away from the riding on election night.
In a phone interview on Wednesday morning, MacKinnon congratulated Dean on her win and said he was encouraged by the number of votes he and his party received.
“My goal was to win the seat so I didn’t reach that, but I think a more realistic goal that I had in mind was to increase the percentage of the vote that the Green Party and I achieved that. I was happy with the outcome.”
MacKinnon earned nearly 25 per cent of the votes in the riding, up from the 21.7 per cent Susan Low received for the party four years ago.
MacKinnon added that he’s looking forward to returning to his full-time duties as a councillor.
B.C. Communist candidate Tyson Strandlund, Libertarian candidate Josh Steffler and independent DelMar Martay received small shares of the vote.