It looked like St. Patrick’s Day inside Red Collar on Monday night, but the revelrous mood was tempered somewhat with frustration and disappointment.
About 100 people were dressed in green and drinking beer, but red and blue were the dominant colours on the election map displayed on the TV in the corner of the Lansdowne Street bar, election-night headquarters for the local Green campaign.
Candidate Iain Currie looked strong in the lead-up to the vote, but his sputter became obvious as soon as local polls began reporting.
The campaign raised exponentially more money than any other Green effort in the riding’s history and Currie’s supporters were boldly predicting victory on social media in the final weeks of the campaign — actual victory, not just a step toward it.
By the time all the ballots were counted, Currie garnered slightly more than 12 per cent of the riding’s vote, good for fourth place behind Conservative Cathy McLeod, Liberal Terry Lake and Cynthia Egli, the NDP’s third shot at lining up someone to run.
The results had not materialized. What happened?
“I have no idea,” Currie said moments after addressing his assembled supporters.
“We did everything we could. Climate change was a major issue we heard about, but it seems like Canadians are content with what they have.”
Currie said the confidence was not posturing.
“I don’t think there’s anything I would have done differently,” he said. “In every possible metric we can measure, we did well — except final vote tally.”
It was not all bad news for the Greens. With Currie front and centre, the party tripled its vote count in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding and increased fundraising an estimated 40-fold.
Currie’s run was bolstered early when he scooped veteran Green campaign manager Jordan Bober to lead his effort.
Speaking at Red Collar on Monday, Bober praised Currie’s determination and said he thinks it will pay dividends in future elections.
“The votes we’ve received today are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of motivation,” Bober said.
“I know that for every person who voted Green today, there were two who thought hard about it. One day we will get those votes — and we will win.”
As for his future in politics, Currie said he will weigh his options in the coming months.
“This was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” he said. “I connected with people in this community in a way I never thought I would.”
Currie said he sees the momentum building locally.
“We’ve got a core of passionate people who are motivated to get deeply involved in the campaign,” he said.
“So, yes. It’s an essential first step.”