The NDP have been declared winners in two ridings and are leading in a third in the city of Richmond, where the B.C. Liberals had held all four seats.
After Saturday night’s count, the NDP were declared the victor in the much-watched swing riding of Richmond-Queensborough. High-profile former TV reporter Jas Johal — seeking re-election for the B.C. Liberals after taking the riding by only 134 votes in 2017 — had 5,343 votes this time, compared to 6,275 for the NDP’s Aman Singh, a lawyer.
The leaders of both the NDP and Liberals had visited the riding during the campaign. Pundits believe Johal has the ambition to be a potential leadership candidate for the Liberals. Earl Einarson, director of the First Nations Technology Council, obtained 1,071 votes for the B.C. Greens in the riding, which includes large areas of farmland.
A total of 6,794 mail-in ballots were sent out in Richmond-Queensborough as of Friday. But, as with other ridings, the number returned is not expected to be released for several days. Mail-in votes and other absentee ballots cannot be counted for at least 13 days. However, polling shows NDP and Liberal supporters voted by mail in roughly even numbers, so mail-in ballots are unlikely to change a result except in very close races.
The NDP’s Kelly Greene , a member of Richmond council , won in the intense battle to replace retired Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap, a former Liberal cabinet minister, in Richmond North Centre. Greene almost upset Yap in the 2017 provincial election, but instead went on to win a seat on Richmond City council in 2018.
This time the Liberals put forward Matt Pitcairn, former CEO of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Greene had 6,462 votes compared to 5,866 for Pitcairn. A total of 8,700 mail-in ballots had been sent out as of Friday.
In a tight race NDP newcomer Henry Yao was in a position to fill the spot vacated by Liberal Linda Reid, former B.C. speaker of the house and a 20-year MLA, in the riding of Richmond South Centre, which encompasses retail outlets and high-density condo buildings.
The B.C. Liberals put forward Alexa Loo, a Richmond city councillor and chartered accountant. But Yao had 4,187 votes compared to Loo’s 4,063. Because the margin is so close, a victor has not been declared by The Canadian Press. The 5,925 mail-in ballots sent out in the riding are expected to decide this riding when they are counted next month.
Yao, who has led one of Richmond’s largest youth volunteer programs, ran for city council in 2014 and 2018, but lost both times. The Greens did not nominate a candidate.
Longtime incumbent Teresa Wat, a former cabinet minister, was the only Liberal candidate in Richmond to emerge victorious, retaking Richmond North Centre, a busy commercial zone that takes in Vancouver International Airport.
Wat, head of a Chinese-language radio station, took the riding handily in 2016 and 2013. This time Wat was running against a 19-year-old housing activist, Jaetron Dela Torre, of the NDP. He obtained 3,557 votes to Wat’s 4,523. The Greens’ Vernon Wang garnered 840 votes. A total of 6,658 mail-in ballots had been sent out as of Friday.
The city of Richmond , with a population of more than 200,000, is roughly 53 per cent ethnic Chinese, 27 per cent white, seven per cent South Asian and seven per cent Filipino.
Nick Loenen, ex-MLA & author of book on proportional representation, notes the Liberal vote dropped only 1.3% cf. 2017 in #RichmondBC. But they’re set to lose 3 of 4 seats in the city. He owes it to the Greens not running candidates in 2 ridings. #BCelxn2020 #BCpoli #Vanpoli
— DouglasTodd (@DouglasTodd) October 27, 2020