Holman wins close race in Saanich North and the Islands

NDP records its first win in the Vancouver Island riding

NDP candidate Gary Holman saw his lead in Saanich North and the Islands go from 52 on May 14 to 163 on May 29, during Elections B.C.’s final count of the votes in this month’s provincial election.

That makes Holman the riding’s first NDP MLA. He defeated B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts. Green Party candidate Adam Olsen gained some ground but was some 216 votes off of second place.

The news of a 163-vote lead came from the NDP constituency association, whose members were monitoring the Elections B.C. count. And as of 2:26 p.m., Elections B.C. made that count official.

Allan Collier, president of the NDP constituency association said Holman was in Vancouver for a caucus meeting Wednesday and would soon be making the transition from candidate to MLA.

“It was a very interesting race,” said Collier. “The vote was split three ways and it never let up.”

Collier said Holman will be looking now to open a constituency office and settle into his new role.

“It is a bit precedent-setting,” Collier said.

Holman won in Saanich North and the Islands with 10,515 votes, followed by Roberts with 10,352. Olsen placed third with 10,136 votes and independent candidate Scott McEachern was fourth with 599 votes.

For the past 12 years, the riding was held by B.C. Liberal MLA Murray Coell, who had announced prior to the election that he was retiring from politics.

Roberts told the Peninsula News Review that since most voters in the riding didn’t vote for the NDP, Holman will have his work cut out for him.

“He is going to have to try to find the common ground here in order to get anything done,” Roberts said.

Roberts added the final vote count was clear and he has no plans to challenge the result any further.

“We know there aren’t that many votes that could be found questionable — at least not 163 of them. I’m pretty happy with how the system worked.”

Roberts, who said he is retired from the workforce right now, added he will be helping shore up the B.C. Liberals in the riding over the short-term. Long-term, he said he’ll be looking to do come volunteer and community work. As for running again, he said he is currently considering it.

“But four years is a long time.”