While the final numbers aren’t expected for a couple of weeks, as of Saturday evening, the clear front-runner of the Surrey White Rock riding is BC Liberal candidate Trevor Halford.
Long considered a safe seat for the BC Liberals, it seems as though the winning streak will continue. With 83 of 110 polls reporting, The Canadian Press projected victory for Halford as the next MLA for Surrey-White Rock.
As of 10:05 p.m., Halford leads with 4,558 votes to NDP candidate Bryn Smith (3,642), Green Party candidate Pixie Hobby (1,506), Independent candidate Megan Knight (705) and Libertarian candidate Jason Bax (233).
The numbers were enough for Canadian Press to make the call for Halford.
However, it’s still unclear how much of an impact the yet-to-be counted mail-in ballots will have on the results.
As of Friday evening, 11,206 people had requested mail-in ballots in the riding. The returned votes aren’t expected to be counted for two weeks.
Contacted Saturday evening, Halford, who was watching the results with his family, was not yet aware that Canadian Press has predicted his victory.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Halford said when asked for his reaction. “There’s still votes coming in and I want to respect those votes and respect the other people that are running as well. I’m want to make sure I’m clear on that, because I don’t want to be disrespectful to other candidates that are waiting for mail-in ballots.”
After the pending votes are counted, if Halford is indeed elected the BC Liberal MLA for Surrey-White Rock, he would be against a majority NDP government.
Even though his party wouldn’t hold power, Halford said he would be an effective voice for Surrey and White Rock residents.
“I think it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in government, or you’re in opposition. You’ve got a duty to do the right thing for not only your constituents, but the province. We’re going to have a big job holding this NDP government to account, especially in Surrey, and I’m going to be lazer focused on that.”
Saturday, Peace Arch News called Surrey-White Rock candidate Bryn Smith and asked for his reaction to the results and his message to people who trusted him with their vote.
While Smith said he wanted to provide comment, he declined, adding “I’m not supposed to talk to the press tonight, sorry.” Instead, Smith directed PAN to a tweet he made Saturday night.
“From the bottom of my heart – thank you. However this election shapes up over the next two weeks, it was my honour to seek to serve this community. The words of support and the dedication of my volunteers and friends will always stay with me,” Smith’s tweet read.
Halford, a former senior political advisor and public affairs director with Trans Canada Corporation, got his start in politics by volunteering for former MLA Gordie Hogg in the late ’90s.
From there, he got a job in the legislature and worked his way up to chief of staff for two different ministers. He worked under Kevin Falcon’s 2011 BC Liberal leadership campaign and for former premier Christy Clark’s office on communications and issue management.
This is the second time he has run for public office, doing so previously in an unsuccessful bid for City of Surrey council in 2018 under the Surrey First Banner.
Halford initially faced some controversy after he was announced as candidate for the Surrey White Rock riding.
Two former politicans who each put their name forward to become the BC Liberal candidate, including Knight, called out the Liberals, allegeding that, from the start, there was no intention of having a fair nomination process for the riding.
“The fix was in,” said Knight said Sept. 23.
BC Liberal representative Brad Zubyk told Peace Arch News at the time that the decision to appoint Halford rather than have a nomination was due to premier calling a snap election, forcing the Liberals to pick a candidate in haste.
While the vetting process for Halford was completed in a timely matter, Zubyk said the vetting process for Megan Knight wasn’t completed due to “red flags” that needed more examination.
After not getting the nomination, Knight, a former White Rock councillor, decided to run as an independent.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Elections BC estimates that roughly 35 per cent of voters used mail-in ballots, which will be counted beginning on Nov. 6. This means that tonight’s election results may change.