Gary Coons has won the North Coast electoral area for the New Democrats, defeating incumbent Liberal Bill Belsey 50-percent to 42-percent.
It was the first bid for provincial public office by the Prince Rupert teacher; preliminary results show him, at just after 10:30 pm, with 3,766 votes, compared to 3,148 for Mr. Belsey.
The results trickled in starting shortly after 9 pm, and Mr. Coons was in the lead from the beginning. He held onto it as poll after poll added its numbers without significantly changing the percentages.
On the Charlottes, Mr. Coons lead Mr. Belsey everywhere but in Sandspit.
In Masset, it was Mr. Coons 310, Mr. Belsey 120;
In Port Clements, Mr. Coons 96, Mr. Belsey 84; in Queen Charlotte, Mr. Coons received 225 votes to Mr. Belsey’s 121 whlle in Sandspit, it was Mr. Coons 70, Mr. Belsey 77.
Overall on the islands, Mr. Coons received 701 votes (54-percent) while Mr. Belsey trailed with 402 (31-percent). (Note-these results do not include Skidegate which had not reported as of 10:30pm)
We’ll have interviews with the candidates before 11:30 pm.
The other two candidates trailed far behind; Hondo Arendt for the Green Party received about 5-percent of the vote, while David Johns for the Marijuana Party polled about 2-percent. (We may have trouble tracking down Mr. johns later this evening, as earlier in the day he told us he could not be sure of which bar in Stewart or Hyder he would be found. Stay tuned!)
Mr. Belsey won the seat in the 2001 election by only 831 votes, ending decades of New Democratic representation. Graham Lea held the seat for the NDP from 1972 to 1986, while New Democrat Dan Miller represented the area from 1986 to 2001.
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