Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong was greeted by a crowd of jubilant supporters after being re-elected for a sixth term on Tuesday night.
The mood had been positive throughout the evening, as polls indicated an early lead for de Jong, but the crowd erupted in cheers as he took to the podium.
“Here we are tonight, having made history,” he told about 300 people who had packed into Moxie’s restaurant, where supporters spent the evening watching election results come in.
De Jong thanked the many people who assisted on his campaign and everyone who believed in him despite the polls indicating an NDP lead across the province. He thanked those who voted for him, “even when it wasn’t popular to do so.”
He also congratulated the community for its involvement in the election.
“I’ve been in six provincial campaigns… and I’ve never seen Abbotsford mobilize … the way it has.”
De Jong noted that the other Abbotsford West candidates all worked hard in their campaigns, and he conveyed his respect for their participation.
De Jong picked up just shy of 51 per cent of the vote, easily out-distancing the NDP’s Sukhi Dhami (29.5 per cent), Paul Redekopp of the BC Conservatives (9.6 per cent), Independent Moe Gill (5.71 per cent), Stephen O’Shea of the Green Party (4.47 per cent) and Excalibur Party candidate Kerry-Lynn Osbourne (0.25 per cent).
Dhami expressed surprise that the Liberals had defied the polls and pundits and garnered a majority government.
“I’m pretty shocked like everybody else,” he said. “I think it’s unfortunate that British Columbians chose four more years of the same.
“But it is what it is – I’ve digested that for now . . . I’ll be back. I’ll be running again most likely in 2017.”
Redekopp also vowed to run again.
“First time out, I think we’ve shown we’re to be reckoned with.”
Independent candidate Moe Gill said he felt alright about the fact that the people in Abbotsford West did not choose to elect a new MLA.
“The voters are just leaning towards the Liberals.”
Also running in Abbotsford South were Stephen O’Shea for the Green Party and Kerry-Lynn Osbourne for the Excalibur Party.