LEFT: Michelle Mungall and her supporters officially kicked off her campaign with a run down Baker Street on Tuesday morning (Kirsten Hildebrand photo). CENTRE: Greg Garbula (middle) and members of his campaign team started to organize the sign campaign for his bid to become the representative for the Nelson-Creston riding (Bob Hall photo). LEFT:Nelson’s Sjeng Derkx has already been busy with door-to-door campaigning (submitted photo).

ELECTION 2013: The race is on in Nelson-Creston

As the provincial election campaign officially kicked off Tuesday, Nelson-Creston’s three candidates were all raring to go.

As the provincial election campaign officially kicked off Tuesday, Nelson-Creston’s three candidates were all raring to go.

Incumbent Michelle Mungall, literally so. To mark the beginning of the official campaign period she ran down the Baker Street in Nelson before heading to Kaslo, Crawford Bay, Creston and Salmo to start her re-election campaign.

“The Nelson-Creston NDP is kicking off the campaign with energy,” said Mungall. “I’ve been hearing from local residents that they want to see a positive election campaign, and that is exactly what we are doing. We plan to have fun, starting with this run for office.”

As this election approaches, she feels confident.

“It feels good here in Nelson-Creston. It feels good right around the province,” she said.

Green Party candidate Sjeng Derkx is equally optimistic, especially after spending the weekend in Creston where he realized support for the Greens extends throughout the riding.

“We have had so much positive reaction — way beyond what I expected. I’ll tell you honestly when I put my name forward, I thought I was going to be an ‘also ran’ but that has changed. We are serious contenders,” he said.

Derkx is adamant that there will be no vote splitting in Nelson-Creston. Only one Liberal has been elected in this riding in the last 22 years, he says, so the race is really between the two left-leaning parties.

“This time, with the Liberals in the tank — deep in the tank, there is just no way their candidate is going to win it. So it’s a race between me and Michelle Mungall,” said Derkx.

Greg Garbula is no stranger to the word underdog. He’s been hearing it since entering the race for the BC Liberal Party.

“But everyone I talk to tells me that they believe in me and that I have their support,” he said. “I think if people actually stand tall and voice their vote and get out to the polls we should have a good chance at this election.”

Getting voters to the polls on May 14 is also a concern for Mungall.

“One of the things I’ve been passionate about is getting more people out to vote,” she said. “Forty per cent of people aren’t showing up to vote. My goal over the next four weeks is to engage people and see if we can increase voter turnout.”

Mungall is looking to the younger voter as she plans a fundraising event at the Royal featuring DJ Terrantino in late April. Using social media like Facebook and Twitter also features prominently in this campaign. But hitting the street and door knocking is still at the root of her strategy.

“As great as social media is, nothing beats face-to-face, greeting people on their doorstep or at community events or getting people’s attention in a fun way,” she said.

Also on board the social media bandwagon, Derkx has also been going door-to-door. He plans to rely on the positive platform the Green Party has on offer believing in its benefits to the riding, and the province.

“We are just going to focus on what we have to offer and we think people will like it,” he said.

Since getting the Liberal nod, Garbula has been travelling the riding meeting with as many people as possible, business and political leaders included.

“We’ve gotten some great feedback and really, we’re trying to find out what the issues of the people are,” he said. “It’s a big riding and everyone wants to voice their concerns. They want someone to acknowledge and support them… It’s not just about who votes for us or the people with similar political views, it’s about everybody.”

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