Just about every person who runs in a provincial campaign believes they have a chance to win. But unless the polls chance, only a few of the people not running for the Liberals or NDP will have a realistic shot of victory. Here are 12 we think currently have a chance.
1.Daniel Brooks (Conservatives)—Nechako Lakes: A guide outfitter from Vanderhoof, Brooks runs the popular Crystal Lake Resort and founded the Upper Nechako Wilderness Council, promoting tourism and collective land use planning in the region. There were just 16,318 registered voters in this riding last election, which means a winning candidate could receive less than 4,000 votes.
2. David Coupland (Conservatives)—Parksville-Qualicum: A radiologist, Coupland was the President of Medical Staff at Royal Nanaimo General Hospital, and spent a year as Director of Radiology at Kanadahar Air Force. The riding has the oldest average in the province, which will likely help the Conservatives—although the Liberals have their own star candidate in Michelle Stilwell, and the NDP are strongest on Vancouver Island.
3. John Cummins (Conservatives)—Langley: The leader of the Conservative Party, Cummins was a Reform/Alliance/Conservative MP for Delta-Richmond East from 1993 to 2011, which means he will have high name recognition on the ballot. The NDP received 36% in this riding last election, which means this race will most likely be a three-way race, where someone could sneak in with under 40% of the vote.
4.Moe Gill (Independent)—Abbotsford West: An Abbotsford councillor since 1997, Gill was the first Punjabi-speaking politician to be elected in a Metro Vancouver council. He was planning on running for the Liberals in Abbotsford South before an argument over where they would let him run turned Gill into an independent. The Conservatives and Greens could each get more than 10% of the vote, which means that someone—including Gill—could win with just 30% of the vote.
5.Arthur Hadland (Independent)—Peace River North: A farmer, Hadland is the director of Electoral Area C in the Peace River Regional District. He ran against Pimm in the 2009 election, but finished in second. Incumbent Pat Pimm isn’t the strongest incumbent. The NDP is unlikely to win, but Hadland might.
6.Vicki Huntington (Independent)-Delta South: A Delta councilor from 1993 to 2008, Huntington became the first independent candidate in 60 years to be elected in B.C. after winning the riding in 2009. She acquitted herself well, and both the Greens and Conservatives are choosing to help her by deliberately not running a candidate.
7.Adam Olsen (Greens)-Saanich North and the Islands: A Central Saanich councillor in his second term, Olsen is a First Nations housing consultant. A member of the Tsartlip First Nation, he also runs a family business called Salish Fusion Knitwear, which was seen on Dragon’s Den earlier this year. Elizabeth May won the riding that covers this area federally in 2011, so the area is used to voting for Greens—and the party will be focusing much of its resources on Vancouver Island, where some polls have found them in second place to the NDP.
8.Kurt Peats (Conservatives)-Peace River South: The former RCMP detachment head for Tumbler Ridge, Peats currently runs his own businesses providing inspections and field investigations for natural gas companies. This is a idiosyncratic and sparsely populated riding, and Peats has been campaigning for many months already, giving him a chance.
9.Bob Simpson (Independent)-Cariboo North: Elected to the legislature in 2005, he was one of the most outspoken people calling for Carole James to be dismissed as leader of the NDP, and has sat as an independent since the party kicked him out of caucus. The NDP had only won this riding once before Simpson was elected, which means his personal popularity may be enough for him to be re-elected.
10.Jane Sterk (Greens)-Victoria-Beacon Hill: The leader of the BC Green Party, Sterk previously served one term on Esquimalt city council from 2005 to 2008. Carole James is the NDP incumbent in this riding as is quite popular, but the Greens came within 1000 votes of defeating the NDP in the 2012 federal byelection here. If most strategic voters believe the NDP are assured a victory on election, there’s an outside chance for a massive upset.
11.John van Dongen (Independent)-Abbotsford South: Since winning the riding of Abbotsford in a 1995 by-election, van Dongen has won four straight general elections in the region, usually by very lopsided margins. The Conservatives and Greens have decided not to run candidates here to help van Dongen, who faces tough competition in the Liberals’ Darryl Plecas.
12.Andrew Weaver (Greens)-Oak Bay-Gordon Head: A professor at the University of Victoria, Weaver is best known as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has received favourable local media coverage, and Ida Chong won enough elections for the Liberals in this riding that this will be seen as a three-way right up to election night.