While the NDP’s Doug Routley was declared the winner of the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding early in the evening, the south end of the Valley had to wait longer to find out who would be the Cowichan Valley riding’s new MLA.
Sonia Furstenau was declared the winner at 10:40 p.m.
“We have a lot of work to do and we’re going to do it together,” said Furstenau shortly after her victory.
“This was a campaign built on building community.”
Furstenau said North American has its first Green Party caucus.
“That is historic,” she said. “We’re going to demostrate that politics can be done differently.”
The Greens are committed to working in the best interests of the people, she said.
“People felt good about voting, they felt happy,” Furstenau said. “It’s not responsible for other parties to suggest things are going differently than they are.”
Supporter and North Cowichan councillor Maeve Maguire said “This is the most exciting place to be in B.C. right now.”
In the early going the NDP’s Lori Iannidinardo came out to a small lead, with the Green Party’s Sonia Furstenau on her heels and the BC Liberals’ Steve Housser also in the race.
But as the night wore on Furstenau took a good-sized lead.
Housser was the first to concede.
“I’m hugely disappointed. Not so much for me but for the team that worked so hard,” Housser said, not ruling out the idea of running again in the future. “But it would be my third kick at the can and I’d be over 70.”
Iannidinardo held out hope until almost midnight, but finally spoke to her supporters.
“We still have much to celebrate. This has been an amazing campaign. I have never felt so connected to and proud of my community,” she said.