Chilliwack-Kent provincial election NDP candidate Kelli Paddon watching results as they come in on election night Oct. 24, 2020. (Submitted)

Chilliwack-Kent provincial election NDP candidate Kelli Paddon watching results as they come in on election night Oct. 24, 2020. (Submitted)

Chilliwack-Kent leaning towards NDP’s Kelli Paddon late Saturday

Upstart New Democrat could unseat incumbent Laurie Throness who won in 2013 and 2017 –results are not final

One of the more uncertain provincial election ridings in B.C., long held by the BC Liberals, was led by a relative unknown in New Democrat Kelli Paddon late Saturday night.

With final results still not in, Paddon led former BC Liberal Laurie Throness by a slim margin by 11 p.m. on election night with 4,353 votes to Throness’s 4,033, a margin of 34.1 per cent over 31.59 per cent.

That with 73 of 89 ballot boxes reported, and not counting advance voting or mail-in ballots, which could amount to half of all votes cast.

Throness made headlines when he resigned from the BC Liberal caucus on the first day of advance voting after the latest in a series of controversial comments on social conservative issues, statements called “wrong an inappropriate” by party leader Andrew Wilkinson.

Chilliwack-Kent was long considered to be an uncertain riding. As ballot boxes were counted over the course of the evening, the vote count totals between Paddon and Throness went back and forth all night. At one point after 48 of 89 ballot boxes were counted, Paddon held just a seven-vote lead over Throness with 2,019 to 2,012.

• READ MORE: BC Liberals cut ties with Chilliwack-Kent candidate Throness

• READ MORE: OPINION: Every vote counts with election uncertainty in Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent

Paddon said she was running on her experience as an advocate. The former University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) instructor said she was focusing on “fighting for improved healthcare and an economic recovery that includes everyday people.”

“This election is about who you trust to look out for you and your family as our economy recovers from COVID-19,” Paddon says. “For years, the BC Liberals gave tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting the vital services that British Columbians rely on. As someone who works with vulnerable populations, I have seen how that hurts our community. That’s why we need to continue to move forward with John Horgan and I’m proud to be part of the team.”

Paddon lives in Lindell Beach with her partner Drew and kids, Nic and Rory.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 22.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., after those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 5,809 number of mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Chilliwack riding, and 7,650 in Chilliwack-Kent. There are 37,676 registered voters in Chilliwack and 43,698 in Chilliwack-Kent.


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