Joe Trasolini wins Port Moody-Coquitlam riding for NDP
"I am speechless but my clothes speak for themselves," joked an ebullient Joe Trasolini, who wore a bright orange shirt, and beamed as he took in the congratulations and cheers Thursday night for pulling off a significant win for the BC NDP.
The popular former Port Moody mayor gave an optimistic speech to a buoyant crowd of supporters after the media declared a decisive win with 54% of the popular vote.
Trasolini said Port Moody-Coquitlam voters didn't heed the "U.S.-style" negative campaign launched by his opponents and instead voted for a positive message.
"The success is a resounding endorsement of Adrian Dix and our positive campaign," Trasolini said.
He promised to build on the growing broad base of support and said voters accepted his message of "hope" that the economy and business can grow with a healthy environment, and that students who need training, families who need affordability and people who need a helping hand will not be ignored by the BC NDP.
"This election is about hope that we can repair the damage that has been done in the last few years," Trasolini said.
He also thanked his family, his campaign workers and NDP MLAs, including Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth and Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Diane Thorne who were in the crowd, for their support.
Earlier in the evening, a more subdued crowd of BC Liberals watched the returns for Dennis Marsden, who posted a second place finish in the long-held Liberal riding with 30.24% of the popular vote.
Marsden joined his supporters after the Tri-City News left the Liberal gathering but later visited Trasolini at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody to congratulate him.
The News was unable to catch up with him that night, however Diana Dilworth, a Port Moody councillor and co-chair of the campaign, was all smiles despite the less than impressive vote count.
Dilworth, who has fought two unsuccessful campaigns as a federal Conservative, said the campaign was well run and volunteers were hard-working and dedicated. However, governing parties don't typically win byelections, she acknowledged. The low turnout, at 33%, also hurt the Liberals, however, "it was a great campaign," she said.
Douglas Horne, Liberal MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, said the campaign was an opportunity to communicate with voters. He said people he talked to on the doorstep weren't angry at the government but were concerned about issues, such as the price of gas, and thought the Liberals had made cuts to health and education funding when in fact funding had increased.
"We need to communicate better," he said.
The BC Conservative campaign in Port Moody-Coquitlam wrapped up early after garnering just 15.40% of the vote. Christine Clarke was unavailable for comment Thursday night. However, she was not expected to do as well as the Conservative candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection who had a higher profile and collected 25.32% of the votes, just 6% less than the second place Liberals.
The BC NDP won that riding with 41.19% of the popular vote.
132 of 132 polls
Per centage of popular vote
Total votes cast: 11,167
Total eligible voters 33,487