Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance
CLOVERDALE/LANGLEY — Before the numbers started coming in, Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal candidate John Aldag didn’t know what to expect.
“This is Conservative country,” said the longtime civil servant with Parks Canada.
As for the results?
“I’m nervous, I’m very, very nervous.”
But as the numbers came in, Aldag and his supporters switched from nervous to elated. Aldag handily defeated Conservative Dean Drysdale and NDP candidate Rebecca Smith.
With 80 per cent of the polls reporting, Aldag had 46 per cent of the votes, a lead of almost 3,800 votes.
“We went into it knowing we were going to put up a good fight,” Aldag said.
Nominated early on, Aldag spent more than a year knocking on thousands of doors in the new riding, which was formed during redistribution from components of several old ridings.
At his campaign headquarters on the Langley Bypass, after 60 per cent of ballots had been counted, Drysdale said he would wait to comment. He declined to be photographed.
The mood was quiet at the Conservative campaign office, the opposite of the jubilant Liberal headquarters.
More people poured in as the night went on, including Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer.
Volunteers cheered and when it became clear that Aldag would win, one hoisted him up off the ground.
Aldag’s wife Elaine St. John was asked if she had expected to be the spouse to a new MP.
“I was hopeful, but I can’t say I was prepared,” she said.
“I’ve been a Conservative all my life,” said Liberal campaign volunteer Kathy Shewan. But she switched and voted Liberal for the first time this election, she said.
Rebecca Darnell, herself a former Liberal candidate in Langley, wasn’t expecting a majority win when she got up Monday morning.
“But I’m sure thrilled we got one,” she said.
Aldag will be the first MP to represent the riding, which includes Langley City, Cloverdale, and a thin strip of Langley Township’s Willoughby area west of 200th Street.