There’s something to be said for being the hometown candidate, even if it doesn’t win you the election, poll-by-poll breakdowns from the last provincial election suggest.
Neither Joseph Hughes, a Nakusp village councillor who ran in Kootenay West as an independent, nor Greg Garbula, the Liberal candidate in Nelson-Creston came close to winning their respective races. But they did top some polls in their own backyards.
Data released by Elections BC from the May vote shows that Hughes, who campaigned on the Columbia River Treaty and finished third among four candidates with 13 per cent of the vote, was the top choice among Upper Arrow Lake residents. He won seven of the 11 ballot boxes in that area, securing 37.5 per cent of the vote to incumbent New Democrat Katrine Conroy’s 34.4 per cent.
Conroy, who lives in Pass Creek, still won a landslide re-election overall, with heavy support everywhere else in the riding, including the Slocan Valley, Castlegar, and Greater Trail. Liberal candidate Jim Postnikoff only won a single poll, in the Glenbank area of Nakusp, although he finished second in most others. He fared poorly in Thrums, where he lives.
Garbula, formerly the longtime manager of Kokanee Springs Resort at Crawford Bay, won three polls on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, earning strongest support in the corridor between Boswell and Wynndel. However, incumbent New Democrat Michelle Mungall easily took polls that included Crawford Bay, Gray Creek, Riondel, Pilot Bay, and Kootenay Bay. Garbula also won several polls in Creston, but so did Mungall.
Green Party candidate Sjeng Derkx didn’t win any polls en route to a third-place finish, but was runner-up in many, especially in and around Nelson, where he lives. Mungall, also a Nelson resident, won the overall race by a wide margin.
In Boundary-Similkameen, Grand Forks residents were much more likely to vote New Democrat than elsewhere in the riding: Sam Hancheroff took 15 of 17 polls over Liberal challenger Linda Larson. Hancheroff also won both Greenwood polls and two of three in Midway.
Things were closer in Christina Lake, where Larson took two polls, Hancheroff one, and they tied in another. They also tied in Rock Creek.
Larson saw strong support in the western part of the riding, including Oliver, where she was on town council, and Kaleden, where Hancheroff lives. Larson was ultimately elected with 46.6 per cent of the vote to Hancheroff’s 39 per cent.
For complete poll-by-poll breakdowns from the three ridings, download the file below. While Elections BC numbers the polling stations, it doesn’t name them. Using maps provided on their website, we assigned unofficial geographic names.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on August 8.