Dan Davies has been elected MLA for Peace River North.
With all 70 polls reporting as of midnight Tuesday, preliminary results showed the BC Liberal candidate had captured 8,542 votes, or 66.3 per cent of the popular vote. Independent candidate Bob Fedderly was sitting at a distant second with 2,489 votes, or 19.3 per cent of the popular vote.
Being able to represent the riding in Victoria has been a eight-year dream come true for Davies, a Fort St. John city councillor, elementary teacher, and truck driver.
"This has been a dream of mine, this has been a goal of mine, this has been something I've been working toward to truly represent the entire northeast in the legislature," Davies told the Alaska Highway News following his acceptance speech at a campaign party at the Lido.
"As the numbers came in, it was like, 'All right, this is it.' Now, I can actually move into that goal and make a difference in our entire region.
"Now, we wait on the rest of the province to see how that goes," he added.
At the time of writing, NDP candidate Rob Dempsey held 836 votes, independent candidate Rob Fraser held 785, and independent Jeff Richert held 231 votes.
Provincially, the race is shaping up to be a BC Liberal minority government, with the Liberals elected or leading in 43 of the province's 87 ridings, just one seat shy of a majority government. The NDP is elected or leading in 41 ridings, while the Greens appear to hold the balance of power having been elected or leading in three ridings.
Final voting results will be available after a final count, which will commence on May 22, 2017, according to Elections BC. Advance votes were to be counted Tuesday night, while absentee ballots are counted at final count.
Davies said he'll be vocal MLA regardless of the party that forms government.
"My number one role is to make sure that I am representing the entire region," he said.
"I've said this right from the start, I'm going to be (representing) number one, the riding, number two, then i'll represent the party. I want to make sure that I am representing everybody, listening to the concerns that are in the riding, making sure that Im bringing the issues to government or the issues forward into the legislature that affect all of us in the northeast."
Fedderly and his supporters were gathered in the shop at MVP Oilfield services, watching the results roll in on two TV screens.
As the votes came in, Fedderly reached the point where the votes just weren't there, and thanked his supporters for being there with him.
“Thank you all for being behind me,” he said.
Fedderly felt good about the experience overall, and though there wasn’t a change in the riding itself, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future.
“I’m just hoping we can work on the next four years and bring in an independent that can make people think their voice can be heard,” he said after addressing the crowd. “Peace River North is too far away from Victoria to have a party member inside hoping for the best.”
Fraser took in the numbers from his campaign office on 100 Avenue with family and supporters at his side, all eyes glued to the television screen as the B.C. Liberals and New Democrats played it out, neck and neck, on the provincial scene.
It was the Mayor of Taylor’s first foray into provincial politics, and even though he didn’t come out victorious, he believes the experience of running will make him a better mayor.
“For the last few weeks, I’ve woken up at 5:00 every morning with butterflies in my stomach, and you know, just, wow, it just motivates you to try to take your thoughts to another level,” he said in an interview with the Alaska Highway News.
“For sure this is going to make me a better mayor ... the experience in itself, getting up there and speaking, and formulating your thoughts,” he said.
Richert, who took in Tuesday's results from home, said he enjoyed being on the campaign trail with Davies. But despite a number of interesting viewpoints and alternatives for voters in the riding, people didn't want change, he said.
"I think that's the question of the day after all of this," he said.
"There was was a lot of interesting viewpoints and alternatives. Obviously, the electorate wanted to keep things status quo."
Richert hopes Davies will take steps to address a number of issues he raised during the campaign, including cumulative effects of industrial development on the environment, the stresses on local social services, and infrastructure needs.
"As a constituent, I will definitely be approaching Dan Davies to help address some of the issues I was concerned with and that I raised during the campaign," he said.
More to come.