In Stikine, the biggest electoral district in the province, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen appeared set to take the northern riding.
With 50 of 50 polls reporting, Cullen was leading with 2,959 votes (50 per cent). Gordon Sebastian, Liberal, was in second at 1,597 (29 per cent). Candidates for two smaller parties also had significant support: Rod Taylor of the Christian Heritage Party, had 755 (13 per cent) and Darcy Repen of the Rural B.C. Party, 641 (11 per cent).
Cullen said from Smithers late Saturday that the major issues involved resources and reconciliation as well as COVID-19 and what’s next with the pandemic recovery.
“Personally, I’m humbled and grateful for the support we received,” Cullen said.
“It was an unprecedented and sometimes difficult campaign but that’s a pretty clear mandate to take the province and this region through the next stage. There are challenges and I think a lot of opportunities.”
For the past three elections, voters in Stikine have elected NDP MLAs.
The riding, which runs along the Alaska Panhandle and borders Yukon, encompasses almost 200,000 square kilometres — a little more than 20 per cent of B.C.’s land mass. With 14,250 registered voters, it’s the fewest in a riding in B.C.
In a province where an average of 20.8 per cent of voters requested mail-in ballots, Stikine is among the lowest with 1,234 or 8.7 per cent opting to vote by mail.
Cullen was the NDP MP for Stikine-Bulkley Valley from 2004 to 2019. Sebastian is a Gitxsan hereditary chief.
In Fraser-Nicola, Liberal Jackie Tegart was leading with 4,570 votes (42 per cent), ahead of the NDP’s Aaron Sumexheltza in second with 4,168 (39 per cent).
Of 26,500 registered voters in the riding, 2,509 or 9.5 per cent requested mail-in ballots.
With 60 of 62 polls reporting in Skeena, incumbent Liberal Ellis Ross was leading with 4,824 votes (53 per cent); Nicole Halbauer, NDP, was in second with 3,900 votes (43 per cent).
Of 21,262 registered voters in Skeena, 1,765 or 8.3 per cent requested mail-in ballots.
In Boundary-Similkameen with 92 of 99 polls reporting, the NDP’s Roly Russell appeared to be poised to take the riding away from the Liberals. He had 7,529 votes (48 per cent). In second was Liberal Petra Veintimilla with 5,773 votes (37 per cent).
Of 36,593 registered voters in the riding, 5,193 or 14.2 per cent requested mail-in ballots.
In Columbia River-Revelstoke with 76 of 78 polls reporting, Doug Clovechok, the Liberal incumbent, was out in front with 5,770 votes (49 per cent). The NDP’s Nicole Cherlet was in second with 4,551 votes (38 per cent).
Of 26,166 registered voters in Columbia River-Similkameen, 3,019 or 11.5 per cent requested mail-in ballots.