NDP candidate Michelle Mungall won a decisive victory in the provincial election Tuesday to secure her third term as Nelson-Creston’s MLA.
With all polls reporting in, Mungall led second-place Tanya Wall of the BC Liberals by over 2,000 votes, while the Green Party candidate Kim Charlesworth followed in third.
“It has been such an honour,” Mungall told the Star at her campaign gathering, “just to see the team grow and grow and grow over the past five weeks. It has been very humbling, and today I spent the day campaigning here in Nelson and watching the steady stream of volunteers. Some people spent the entire day getting people out to vote, calling them, reminding them.”
As for the provincial nail-biter, she said, “My nails will be bitten down to the quick by the end of the night. We still have a lot of advance polls to come in and so we will see which way the seats go.”
Faced with the Liberals and the NDP having an almost equal number of seats, Mungall seemed skeptical.
“Unless we can all come together and work things out, which is not necessarily the way things work out in our system, I think we are going to be heading to the polls pretty quickly again.”
Asked if she thinks the NDP can work with the Green Party, she said, “We are going to try, we are going to do our darndest, and we agree on more than we disagree, and I hope we can put personalities aside and focus on the building a better B.C.”
Mungall’s vote total was 7,159, Wall received 4891 votes, and Charlesworth, 4770.
The Green Party, sensing an opportunity in the riding, tried to capitalize on visits from provincial leader Andrew Weaver, federal leader Elizabeth May and star supporter David Suzuki.
Charlesworth said she was surprised the result wasn’t closer.
“But we gave it our all, and I think we inspired a lot of people. So that’s a success.”
She said the Green message was heard clearly in Nelson-Creston.
“We had a lot of people talking everywhere all throughout the riding about the need for change and wanting to see more Green values. So hopefully with the results we’re seeing there will be a couple more Green seats in the legislature and hopefully that will help further the goal of change.”
With her B.C. Liberals locked in a tight battle provincially, Tanya Wall said she had no regrets in taking on Mungall in the election.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would without any hesitation,” she said. “I’ve learned so much in talking not only to supporters, but to people from all political sides.”
Her previous experience as a Creston town councillor and regional director didn’t prepare her for the animosity that party politics brings out in people, she said.
“I was surprised at how vicious and partisan some people can be, when a genuine conversation would be more helpful,” she said. “But overall, this election campaign has been a very positive experience.”
Independent candidate Jesse O’Leary received 151 votes, and Independent Tom Prior, 135.
— With files from reporter Lorne Eckersley of the Creston Valley Advance.