Christy Clark leads B.C. Liberals to surprise majority (CBC News – May 14, 2013)

But Liberal leader loses her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey to NDP candidate

Christy Clark will head a majority B.C. Liberal government after leading her party to a stunning come-from-behind victory in British Columbia’s 40th provincial election.

But Clark lost a tough fight to hold on to her seat in Vancouver-Point Grey, to high-profile NDP candidate David Eby by 785 votes. Despite the riding defeat Clark can still be premier, but it is expected she would seek a seat in a byelection in a safer Liberal riding.

The last time a B.C. party leader became premier but failed to win their seat was in 1924, when both Premier John Oliver and the Leader of the Opposition William John Bowser were defeated in the general election.

The Liberals won 44.4 per cent of the popular vote and 50 Liberals were elected in the province’s 85 ridings, giving Clark one of the most remarkable political comebacks in the province’s history.

Not only did Clark defy countless polls predicting her defeat, she increased her party’s majority in the legislature by five seats and became the first woman to be elected premier in a general election in B.C.

The NDP won 39.5 per cent of the popular vote, giving them 33 seats in the legislature, three seats less than they held before the election.

Green Party candidate Andrew Weaver won the first provincial seat for the party in the Vancouver Island riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head, but party leader Jane Sterk failed to win her seat in Victoria. Overall the Greens won eight per cent of the popular vote.

Independent Vicki Huntington was re-elected in Delta South, making her the only one of three independent MLAs to hold on to her seat.

Clark started the campaign as the clear underdog in the poll, trailing by 20 percentage points. But during the course of the 28-day campaign she closed the gap significantly with a campaign that focused on debt reduction and economic growth.

The Liberals and their supporters also ran a slew of attack ads casting the NDP and its leader, Adrian Dix, as untrustworthy and out of control with billions of dollars in campaign promises.

During the campaign Clark also proved herself to be a much more personable campaigner than Dix, who appeared nervous during the only televised leaders’ debate.

Clark reaches out in speech

Clark joined her party supporters at the Wall Centre in Vancouver just after 11 p.m. Tuesday to celebrate her victory and thank her supporters.

“Well, that was easy,” she joked as she opened her speech.

“Tonight we have received a mandate from the people of British Columbia. And I say to the citizens of British Columbia: You have humbled us tonight with this opportunity and the tremendous obligation you’ve placed on our shoulders. Together we will make British Columbia better.

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