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New Democrat Kelli Paddon unseats Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent

BC NDP Chilliwack-Kent candidate Kelli Paddon.
BC NDP Chilliwack-Kent candidate Kelli Paddon. BC NDP

The NDP’s Kelli Paddon has unseated former BC-Liberal incubment Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent.

Paddon defeated Throness by at least 1,303 votes, according to the final count of outstanding ballots by Elections BC on Saturday.

Throness took to Twitter to concede and congratulate Paddon on her “convincing victory,” and to “wish her every success as she serves her constituents, and to offer her all my assistance in the transition!”

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It marks the conclusion of perhaps the most unusual race in B.C.’s provincial election.

Long a BC Liberal stronghold, it was expected to be an easy seat for the party to hold onto.

Read more: With one week until B.C.’s election, Chilliwack-Kent may be B.C.’s most interesting race

But late in the campaign, the party parted ways with Throness, following comments he made at a recent all-candidates’ debate comparing free birth control to eugenics.

The Liberals faced pressure to fire him, no thanks to past criticism for his socially conservative views on LGBTQ2 issues.

Throness quit the party instead and continued to campaign as an independent.

Click to play video 'Chilliwack-Kent race wide open' Chilliwack-Kent race wide open
Chilliwack-Kent race wide open – Oct 17, 2020

The BC NDP made a brief breakthrough in the riding a 2012 byelection, when Gwen O’Mahoney took advantage of a vote split between the BC Liberals and BC Conservatives to claim the seat.

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The community’s demographics have changed since then, with many young families moving up the Fraser Valley in search of affordable housing.

That opened the door to strong challenges from the NDP’s Kelli Paddon and independent city councillor Jason Lum.

Adding a further twist to the race was the BC Greens running a candidate, who eventually chose to stay on the ballot but stop campaigning and throw support behind Lum.

You can find a full list of ridings and results here, and full B.C. 2020 provincial election coverage here.

Candidates

  • Independent (resigned from BC Liberal Party): Laurie Throness
  • BC Greens: Jeff Hammersmark
  • BC NDP: Kelli Paddon
  • Libertarian: Eli Gagne
  • Independent: Jason Lum

2017 election results

  • BC Liberals: Laurie Throness — 11,841 votes (52.75%)
  • BC NDP: Patti MacAhonic — 7,273 votes (32.40%)
  • BC Greens: Josie Bleuer — 3,335 votes (14.85%)

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.