BC Liberal candidates far outspent their opponents in Abbotsford’s three ridings during last year’s election.
The biggest spender was Mike de Jong in Abbotsford West. His campaign spent $208,585 en route to winning the race handily, with 55 per cent of the vote. His expenses work out to about $17.95 for each of his 11,618 votes.
De Jong’s NDP challenger, school trustee Preet Rai, spent $30,727, or $4.75 for each of his eventual 6,474 votes, landing him in a distant second in the riding. Elections BC recently made the spending data public.
The majority – $174,360 – of the de Jong campaign’s money came from the BC Liberal Party. The rest came from corporate and individual donors. There were a total of seven donations to the campaign exceeding $1,200 – the new cap on contributions legislated by the NDP following the election. De Jong’s biggest donor, Noort Investments Ltd., kicked $8,000 into his campaign.
Most of Rai’s campaign funds came from his party and its local constituency office, but he also raised $9,008 locally. Jagraon Enterprises donated a total of $7,000 and Evoprint gave $1,508. Rai put $500 of his own money into the losing effort.
The Green Party’s Kevin Eastwood spent $600, the Christian Heritage Party’s Lynn Simcox spent $2,410 and Libertarian Dave Sharkey reported no expenses.
In Abbotsford’s other two ridings the Liberals also spent far more for each vote they received than their opponents.
In Abbotsford South, victor Darryl Plecas spent $100,456 – $8.60 for each of the 11,683 votes he received – while the NDP’s Jasleen Arora spent only $3,292 – 52 cents for each of her 6,297 votes. Green candidate Aird Flavelle spent a total of $2,033, or 61 cents for each of the 3,338 votes that landed him in third place. Christian Heritage candidate Ron Gray spent $1,900 and ended up with 942 votes.
It was a similar story in Abbotsford-Mission, where the NDP ran a near non-existent campaign, spending just $1,855 to BC Liberal Simon Gibson’s $61,843. Gibson won the seat with just over half of the vote.
The NDP candidates in Abbotsford-Mission (Andrew Christie) and Abbotsford South (Arora) were both Metro Vancouver residents with few or no connections to the ridings.
Election officials made a handful of minor mistakes at Abbotsford polling stations. According to the chief electoral officer’s official report on the election, officials wrongly put ballots in boxes without envelopes and put a counterfoil in an envelope. In these cases, the mistakes were caught and the votes were counted.