Renee Merrifield appears to be heading to Victoria to represent the riding of Kelowna-Mission.
With 99 of 114 polls reporting just past 10 p.m., Merrifield had a commanding lead, having garnered 51.1 per cent of votes, or 5,158 votes.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed and humbled,” Merrifield said.
“Honestly, when the numbers started rolling in, I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe that we had done that well,” she added.
Merrifield said that just being heard would be a challenge as part of the opposition party.
“Getting loud enough, getting large enough, making sure that our questions are thoughtful, making sure that we’re advocating, and then building relationships and making sure we’re building those bridges across party lines,” she said.
Merrifield said advocating for small businesses would be a top priority moving forward.
“We have been hammered in the downturn and in the pandemic. We need help,” she said.
Krystal Smith of the NDP was in second at 30.5 per cent, or 3,070 votes, with Amanda Poon of the Green Party in third at 18.4 per cent (1,852).
The riding is a safe Liberal seat, with voters traditionally supporting right-leaning parties.
In 2017, BC Liberal candidate Steve Thomson took the seat in a landslide, collecting 57.2 per cent of the votes (15,401).
Well behind Thomson at 21.2 per cent (5,720) was BC NDP hopeful Harwinder Sandhu, BC Green contender Rainer Wilkins with 14.2 per cent (3,836), and then BC Conservative Charles Hardy at 7.3 per cent (1,976).
Last December, Thomson announced his retirement from politics. He was first elected in 2009.
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.
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