Michelle Mungall has secured a second term representing Nelson-Creston, a bittersweet victory considering her party remains the official opposition.
“I am happy that I am still the MLA for Nelson-Creston, but this is bittersweet overall — disappointed I am on the same side of the house,” she said Tuesday evening as she watched the results pour in surrounded by her supporters.
Mungall garnered 7,576 votes (50.32 per cent) while the Liberal candidate Greg Garbula took 4,348 votes (28.88 per cent) and Green’s Sjeng Derkx got 3,133 ballots (20.81 per cent) cast in his favour.
Gathered at the Hume Room, Mungall made a grand entrance to the applause of supporters waiting to see the winner. The newly elected MLA told a crowd of approximately 50 people that the win wouldn’t have been possible without the “blood, sweat and tears” of her volunteers. With their help, she sits in the legislature once again, she said.
“I am glad that I get to go back to Victoria and represent Nelson-Creston and continue on the work I’ve been doing in the area,” said Mungall.
But she recognizes the road ahead won’t be easy as her party didn’t form the next government, despite pollsters predicting an NDP win. She was surprised and reluctant to admit her party’s defeat.
“Like many British Columbians, especially here in Nelson-Creston, I am feeling surprised at the overall results. Most people anticipated a New Democrat government,” she said. “What was it that ultimately people, after years of saying they were done with the Liberals, and that they wanted to park their vote with us, that they actually ended up staying where they were.”
Garbula was surprised that he was not able to make more inroads in a riding that has leaned to the left in most of the recent elections.
“I’m very melancholy about it,” he told the Star. “To be honest, I thought the people would be more interested in themselves and the representation I could bring rather than party politics.”
Green Party candidate Derkx was pleased to see his party gain its first seat with the election of climate scientist Andrew Weaver in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding near Victoria.
“We have a foot in the door, and what a foot it is… He’ll increase the credibility of the Green party much further — and next time we’ll have five, ten or 15 [Green MLAs]” Derkx said. “I would have liked to join Andrew, but this is just absolutely fantastic… I’m so proud of my party.”