BC Liberal candidate Dan Ashton is projected to win the riding of Penticton for a third term.
With all 129 polls reported, Ashton lead the race with 9,137 votes, or 49.78 per cent.
“We will wait and see what happens, after but the trend is going the right way,” Ashton said, noting thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
NDP candidate Toni Boot, the mayor of Summerland, had 6,472 votes cast in her favour, or 35.26 per cent.
Ted Shumaker of the Green Party was third at 2,187 votes, or 11.92 per cent, followed by Libertarian candidate Keith MacIntyre with 558 votes, or 3.04 per cent.
Ashton said he hopes cooperation will continue across party lines in the B.C. legislature under an NDP majority government.
“My priority is, when the legislature does get called back, is to work with the new government to ensure that the people of the riding from Naramata to Peachland, Summerland and Penticton included, get looked after, to the best of the ability of working together by the government,” he said.
“Times are troubling enough right now with COVID and the economy and everything else, so I think governments and those fortunate enough to be elected, better be working together for everybody’s sake in the province.”
Ashton said it won’t be a challenge advocating for his constituents in opposition. He is interested in the agriculture and tourism critic role he held before the writ dropped.
The Liberal incumbent wouldn’t say if he thinks BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson should resign in the face of defeat.
“That will be his decision,” Ashton said. “I know he will make a decision that is best for the people of British Columbia.”
The BC Liberals have held the Penticton seat since 1996.
In the 2017 provincial election, Ashton won his second term after earning 52.8 per cent of the vote (14,470 votes).
Tarik Sayeed of the NDP was second at 28.7 per cent (7,874) with Connie Sahlmark in third at 18.5 per cent (5,061).
Ashton was first elected in 2013 with 45.8 per cent (11,536), five per cent ahead of Richard Cannings of the NDP at 40.4 per cent (10,154).
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, this may change the outcome of this riding.