Support for the B.C. NDP on Kamloops’ North Shore and through the mail nearly scuttled the B.C. Liberal hopes for another red October in the Kamloops-North-Thompson riding.
Incumbent Liberal MLA Peter Milobar won re-election in the Oct. 24 provincial election, earning a second term by just 196 votes over NDP challenger and city councillor Sadie Hunter.
According to poll by poll results from election-atlas.ca, the NDP saw far more support at Kamloops-based polling stations in 2020 than in the 2017 election.
In 2017, NDP candidate Barb Nederpel won at just five polls: in Brocklehurst, North Kamloops, Westsyde and Rayleigh. Milobar won at 41 polls.
In 2020, Hunter and the NDP won at 24 polling stations in those areas and the vote was tied at two polling stations. Milobar and the Liberals won at 20 Kamloops polling stations, which were mostly in the more rural areas of Westsyde and Rayleigh.
Rural polling stations in areas such as Sun Peaks, Clearwater and Barriere predominantly went to the Liberals in both 2017 and 2020 elections, as did the poll on the Tk’emlups reserve.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots and advance votes in 2020.
The mail-in vote went to Hunter, who accumulated 49 per cent (2,278 votes) of those ballots, compared to Milobar’s 37 per cent (1,701 votes).
Hunter also won at the advance poll in North Kamloops, with 1,702 votes (46 per cent), compared to Milobar’s 1,415 (38 per cent), but lost everywhere else. Milobar won the advance vote at the Barriere Lions Club (48 to 30 per cent over Hunter), at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 259 in Clearwater (49 to 28 per cent) and on the Tk’emlups reserve — which all measured in the hundreds of ballots.
Overall, there were 22,787 ballots cast in the riding. Milobar finished with 9,341 votes (41 per cent of the vote), followed by Hunter with 9,145 votes (40 per cent of the vote).
Milobar and the Liberals beat out the NDP in the riding by a much wider 48 to 30 per cent margin in 2017, but held on in 2020 on the strength of the rural vote and maintaining half the Kamloops polls.
Provincially, the NDP won a majority, with 57 of 87 seats in the legislature. The Liberals have 28 seats, including both Kamloops area ridings, while the Greens will sit with two seats.
To see more of how the votes were cast, check out the election atlas poll tracker by clicking here.