Against the backdrop of a major health crisis, thousands of Port Moody-Coquitlam voters cast ballots for candidates in the Oct. 24, 2020, election.
And as early as 9:00 p.m., the Canadian Press had declared Rick Glumac the winner, giving the BC NDP incumbent a second term.
It was a quiet night for Glumac, who was watching the results with the BC NDP candidates for all the Tri-City ridings in a Port Coquitlam office. But there was enough excitement about NDP gains during the election that Glumac was able to acknowlede his strong showing over his rivals.
"It looks like I've been declared," Glumac acknowledged. "I'm humbled to have that opportunity to be MLA again."
Glumac thanked the voters, the campaign team, the candidates who participated in the Port Moody-Coquitlam election race and Elections BC. He said he's looking forward to the next steps as the government resumes its duties and efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.
"I've been working hard for the last three and a half years and I think people are happy with the work that we've done as a government," Glumac said. "As the BC NDP, we have a lot of work ahead and I'm looking forward to that."
Among the local issues he sees ahead is a renewal plan for the Burrard Thermal property and a new primary urgent care centre for the Tri-Cities, along with programs to enhance affordability and investments in child care and health care.
By 10 p.m., with 13,747 votes counted, Glumac had a commanding lead with 50.04% of the vote, compared to 32.05% for James Robertson of the BC Liberals, 12.5% for John Latimer of the BC Green Party, 4.24% for Brandon Fonseca of the Conservative Party, and 0.74% for Logan Smith, Libertarian.
The Robertson campaign was not available for comment.
As COVID-19 cases continued to climb, thousands of voters were expected to cast ballots by mail, possibly affecting the outcome, while thousands more voted in advance of the election.
Tonight, between 65% and 70% of the total votes cast will be counted.
Glumac, who won in 2017 with 47.69% of the vote, was expected to keep the seat in the NDP column in this suburban riding, where environmental issues, housing and child care are top of mind for many.
Still, the riding was considered a crucial target for the BC Liberals, whose leader, Andrew Wilkinson, popped in at least three times for press conferenes and to introduce candidate James Robertson, a Canadian armed forces veteran.
In what was mosty a by-the-book campaign with no surprises, candidates endeavoured to meet with voters but were somewhat hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Liberal's Robertson and the Green's Latimer door knocked, Glumac stuck to small group meetings, email and Zoom to stay in touch with voters, according to his campaign team.
Facebook was used to appeal to voters, with the BC Liberal's Robertson spending more and placing more than double the amount of ads to appeal to young voters on such platforms as TikTok and Instagram. Glumac also used Facebook advertising to reach his local constituents but not to the same degree as his BC Liberal rival.
Meanwhile, Latimer stumped in the riding to reach those concerned about environmental issues. A mechanical engineer working in the green economy, Latimer was hoping to increase the 12.11% popular vote obtained by the previous Green Party flag carrier Don Barthel in the 2017 campaign.
IMPORTANT NOTE / NOTE TO READERS about mail-in ballots: Due to the anticipated number of mail-in ballots, the election night vote count will not be complete. The Canadian Press will continue to publish updated riding results to the map and banners as available until counting is complete