Abbotsford Coun. Bruce Banman has been chosen by BC Liberal members to represent the Abbotsford South riding in the next provincial election.
Banman, who served as Abbotsford’s mayor from 2011 to 2014, was selected at a nomination meeting Saturday. He beat community activist Lakhwinder Jhaj and Markus Delves, the former president of the AbbotsfordFirst slate.
More than 1,400 people voted in the nomination contest, the BC Liberals said.
Banman has said he will continue to serve on Abbotsford council, although he will not chair any committees.
Darryl Plecas, the Speaker of the legislature, currently represents Abbotsford South. He had been a BC Liberal until he was booted from the party for accepting the role of Speaker.
The Abbotsford South riding includes most of central Abbotsford south of South Fraser Way and west of Sumas Way, along with rural areas south of Highway 1. It also includes a chunk of the southeastern portion of the Township of Langley. That area consists of territory east of 248 Street and south of the highway.
The BC Liberals have won each election in Abbotsford South for more than a quarter-century. Plecas has said he doesn’t intend to run again, as long as certain workplace reforms are enacted in the legislature.
Although B.C. political nomination battles usually occur behind closed doors and out of the view of non-members, Banman had run a particularly public-facing campaign that included paying for Facebook ads and launching a website.
The BC Liberals said Saturday’s huge turnout to choose a new candidate made the event the largest gathering of BC Liberals since the 2017 election.
“I’d like to congratulate Bruce, Markus, and Lakhwinder for all their hard work engaging with the community in Abbotsford South,” BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said in a news release. “I’m looking forward to working with Bruce as we continue to build our renewed and refreshed party in anticipation of the upcoming election.”
Banman hailed Delves and Jhaj in a brief statement.
“It is an honour to be nominated as the next BC Liberal candidate for Abbotsford South,” he said.
“I want to thank my fellow nomination contestants for their remarkable contributions, both to this nomination process and to Abbotsford. I look forward to working hard for the people of Abbotsford South, and ensuring that we have a strong free enterprise voice in Victoria.”