Candidates graceful in defeat

Kevin Falcon speaks to reporters in Vancouver after finishing second in the B.C. Liberal leadership vote Saturday evening.

Christy Clark’s three rivals put aside the disagreements of the leadership campaign Saturday evening and vowed to work together to carry on the B.C. Liberal government’s work.Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon finished a close second to Clark on the third and final ballot, but enough of Shuswap MLA George Abbott’s support went to Clark to give her the win.One of the disagreements Falcon had with Clark was whether the party should dispense with the scheduled election date of May 2013 and have an early vote to give the new leader a fresh mandate.”I’m sure that Christy will talk to all of us in the caucus before she makes any final decisions around that,” Falcon said after the vote. “There are opportunities for by-elections [for Clark to run for a seat]. I’m sure Christy will look at all of those, and I’m sure she’ll ask for advice and counsel from other MLAs like myself. And I’ll be there providing it, and I’ll be supporting her.”Clark echoed those comments when speaking to reporters after the vote, saying a quick election was not her top priority and she needs to discuss options with the caucus first.

Abbott was asked why more of his supporters didn’t go to Falcon when he was dropped off the ballot after the second round of counting.”B.C. Liberals are very independent minded people, and all I ever said was, you know, on a balance between Kevin and Christy, I was going to vote for Kevin,” Abbott said. “But I know for example, my wife had a different view, and I’m sure that many of my other supporters had a different view.”Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong finished fourth, but he was philosophical.”Winning’s always your objective, but look at what happened here tonight,” de Jong said. “We’ve got a great new leader, a talented woman who’s going to lead us to the next election, and I believe lead us united and lead us successfully.”

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