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Popham holds off challengers to hold Saanich South for NDP

23:36 P.M. Wolf Depner / Saanich News
Landon Murry of St. Andrew’s Regional School signs David Calder’s campaign sign at the Beach House during election night, May 9. Travis Paterson/News Staff

23:36 P.M. Wolf Depner / Saanich News

The new and old Member of the Legislative Assembly Saanich South Lana Popham said Tuesday night that she is still tyring to understand an unprecedented election outcome that sees three BC Greens hold the balance of power, with BC Liberals and the New Democrats holding 42 seats each of this writing. One way or another, British Columbians will wake up Wednesday with the realization that their verdict was inconclusive.

Popham — like so many at regional New Democratic office on Fort Street in Victoria — appeared uncertain about what is going to happen next. “Right now, I haven’t even begun to process,” she said. “There are so many things in play right now, we are not going to know (for a while),” she said.

As for her own riding, Popham beat out BC Liberal David Calder with 40.82 per cent of the vote to his 32.22 per cent. Mark Neufeld of the BC Greens finished third with 25.95 per cent. Richard Pattee of the Vancouver Island Party won 0.42 per cent, while Andrew McLean won 0.59 per cent.

“I’m extremely grateful for Saanich South granting me their support,” said Popham. “It’s always a hard finish in Saanich South and I congratulate them for working hard in their own campaigns.”

The race in Saanich South had a distinct personal dimension as Calder used to serve on Popham’s constituency board. Neufeld meanwhile had taught her son. While the early parts of the race saw several sharp exchanges between Popham and Calder, the rest of the campaign unfolded with less tension between Calder and Popham.

“We all remain respectful of each other and I think that is what the voters of Saanich South wanted to see,” said Popham.

Now comes the part of determining in which role Popham will find herself. Under the conventions of parliamentary government, Christy Clark of the B.C. Liberals remains premier until she has the lost confidence of the legislature, a distinct possibility since the New Democrats could seek the support of the three Greens elected to the legislature.

Popham said she is not aware of any discussions between her leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Andrew Weaver, who will once again the Saanich area riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Should Clark lose the confidence of the legislature, Horgan may receive an invitation to form government. Or, British Columbians may find themselves right back where they were today — watching election returns.

“On Day 28 of a very hard-fought campaign, that seems very daunting,” she said.

In light of that possibility, Calder’s words during his concession speech may turn out to be prophetic, when he took the mic and conceded with a passionate speech about his first campaign to the chants of “Da-vid, Dav-id, Da-vid…”

“These results suck but I’m not going to lie, nobody wants me to lie, this doesn’t feel good,” Calder told the crowd. “But we’ll be back,” he said.

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey played him out.

With files from Travis Paterson


10:16 p.m. Lana Popham’s lead has grown to more than 1,300 for the NDP. Meanwhile it’s a tight race provincially with the Liberals leading or elected in 43, the NDP 41 and the Greens 3

David Calder BC Liberal Party 4,993 32.22%

Andrew Paul McLean Libertarian 91 0.59%

Mark Neufeld BC Green Party 4,021 25.95%

Richard Percival Pattee The Vancouver Island Party 65 0.42%

Lana Popham BC NDP 6,326 40.82%

10:05 p.m. Lana Popham starting to pull ahead, up by nearly 800 votes

David Calder BC Liberal Party 4,446 33.41%

Andrew Paul McLean Libertarian 80 0.60%

Mark Neufeld BC Green Party 3,486 26.19%

Richard Percival Pattee The Vancouver Island Party 59 0.44%

Lana Popham BC NDP 5,238 39.36%

9:58 Wolf Depner / Saanich News

Lana Popham, who is currently leading in Saanich South in a close race against David Calder, is expected to arrive in NDP regional on Fort Street within 30 minutes.

9:55 p.m. Lana Popham of the NDP holding off Liberal David Calder by less than 200 votes with nearly half of ballot boxes reporting

David Calder BC Liberal Party 3,324 34.85%

Andrew Paul McLean Libertarian 46 0.48%

Mark Neufeld BC Green Party 2,606 27.32%

Richard Percival Pattee The Vancouver Island Party 46 0.48%

Lana Popham BC NDP 3,516 36.86%

9:22 p.m. with 7 ballot boxes reporting Lana Popham of the NDP holds a slim 40-vote lead

David Calder BC Liberal Party 641 - 33.60%

Andrew Paul McLean Libertarian 8 - 0.42%

Mark Neufeld BC Green Party 566 - 29.66%

Richard Percival Pattee The Vancouver Island Party 12- 0.63%

Lana Popham BC NDP 681 - 35.69%

9:06 p.m. It’s a tight three-way race with just 2 of 78 ballot boxes reporting

David Calder BC Liberal Party 121 – 28.81%

Andrew Paul McLean Libertarian 3 – 0.71%

Mark Neufeld BC Green Party 144 – 34.29%

Richard Percival Pattee The Vancouver Island Party 0 0.00%

Lana Popham BC NDP 152 – 36.19%

Travis Paterson: Live from David Calder’s election night party at the Beach House at 8:30 p.m.

It’s the third election for Saanich South liberal campaign manager Debbie MacLean. The veteran guided former Olympian David Calder through his first foray into politics up to tonight.

“Calder is a wonderful man, I didn’t know him and I’ve had a wonderful time,” MacLean said.

In 1995 MacLean was part of former Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard’s liberal campaign and was part of Susan Brice’s successful run in 2001, then again in 2005.

“Every election in Saanich South has been within 500 votes, this is a historically close riding,” MacLean said.

For Calder, it’s been a learning experience.

“I know so much more now about the community and what people care about,” Calder said.

More to come.