SKEENA RIDING polls are set to close at 8 p.m. after which the job of counting ballots begins to reveal who will be the next representative in the provincial legislature.
New Democrat Robin Austin hopes to win his third election in the face of opposition from BC Liberal candidate Carol Leclerc, a former Terrace city councillor, and BC Conservative Mike Brousseau.
This is Leclerc’s first attempt at provincial office and Brousseau’s second. He also ran as a BC Conservative in the 2009 provincial election.
Austin’s first electoral victory in 2005 was accomplished by gathering 6,166 votes, or 48.12 per cent of the turn out, compared to the 5,807 votes or 45.32 per cent of the turnout registered for BC Liberal incumbent Roger Harris.
Green candidate Patrick Hayes received 616 votes for 4.81 per cent of the turn out while 224 votes or 1.75 per cent of the turn out went to Daniel Stelmacker of the Unity party.
Austin’s second electoral victory in 2009 came with 50.77 per cent of the popular vote or 5,865 ballots compared to the 37.46 per cent of the vote or 4,328 ballots for B.C. Liberal Donny van Dyk.
BC Conservative Mike Brousseau that time received 893 votes or 7.73 per cent of the vote while Green Anita Norman received 467 votes or 4.04 per cent of the total vote.
Austin’s 50.77 per cent result in 2009 was a 2.47 per cent increase over his first win in 2005 and just about mirrored the overall provincial percentage turn out.
His winning vote number of 5,865 ballots in 2009 was less than the 6,166 votes he received in 2005. Overall, the total Skeena voter turn out in 2009 was 11,617, a drop from the 12,902 ballots cast in 2005.
Much the same happened in the North Coast riding as well when fewer people voted in 2009 then did in 2005.
New Democrat Gary Coons, first elected in 2005 with 5,845 votes was returned in 2009 with 5,097 votes.
Liberal Bill Belsey in 2005 received 4,185 votes and Liberal candidate Herb Pond in 2009 received 3,110 votes.