Cullen beat out BC Liberal candidate Gordon Sebastian, who earned just under 28 per cent of ballots cast.
The riding is B.C.’s most northwestern electoral district, and stretches from Smithers in the south, to Lower Post near the Yukon border in the northeast, and the Alaskan panhandle in the west.
Prior to joining the provincial NDP for this race, Nathan Cullen was a four-term federal New Democrat MP representing Skeena-Bulkley Valley, which covers much of the Stikine riding.
After 15 years, Cullen announced in 2019 that he wouldn’t seek re-election after 15 years in the House of Commons in Ottawa.
In September, the BC NDP nominated him as its candidate for Stikine after incumbent Doug Donaldson chose not to run again. Donaldson had won in 2017 with 52.1 per cent of the vote ahead of his BC Liberal challenger at 38.7 per cent.
Cullen’s nomination caused a stir, as the NDP’s policies state that when a white male MLA over the age of 40 retires — in this case, Donaldson — he must be replaced by an equity-seeking individual, such as a woman, person of colour or member of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Annita McPhee, an Indigenous advocate who served three terms as president of the Tahltan Central Government in northern B.C, said she had put her name forward, but was turned down.
In response, the BC NDP said McPhee did not have an active party membership and did not gather enough eligible signatures.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots were requested across B.C. this election. As mail-in ballots cannot be counted until after election night, these results are not final.