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ELECTION 2017: In Surrey-Whalley, Ralston is re-elected once again (VIDEO)

Voters of the riding usually elect a New Democratic Party MLA
NDP candidate Bruce Ralston has been re-elected in the Surrey-Whalley riding. (file photo)

SURREY — Bruce Ralston has been re-elected in Surrey-Whalley, a riding he’s held since 2005.

Voters usually elect a New Democratic Party MLA in the riding, and this year was no different.

“I don’t think you ever take it for granted,” Ralston, a lawyer, said of his win on Tuesday.

As for the provincial vote, he added: “Just gotta wait. Chew your nails, at least that’s what I do.”

With all 77 polls reporting in Surrey-Whalley, Ralston earned 58 per cent of votes in the riding.

Liberal challenger Sargy Chima had 30 per cent of votes in the riding, with Green candidate Rita Anne Fromholt (10.7 per cent) and George Gidora of the Communist Party of B.C. (0.55 per cent) well behind.

Of the NDP taking several Surrey seats Ralston said, “I don’t think, despite the fact that there was a Liberal majority government, that the Liberal members and Liberal cabinet ministers represented Surrey well. Whether it was the issue of affordability, tolls, the hospital, transportation, public safety, they hadn’t done a good job. And I think people were very disillusioned.”

In the last election, Ralston, a former Surrey Civic Electors city councillor (1988-93) and B.C. NDP party president, won with 61.43 per cent of the popular vote, defeating runner-up Liberal candidate Kuljeet Kaur by 5,401 votes. 

Joan Smallwood had held the riding, which was called Surrey-Guildford-Whalley and then Surrey-Whalley, from 1986 until 1991, when she lost to Liberal Elayne Brenzinger, who won with 45.73 per cent of the vote in the historic NDP routing of 2001. Ralston then won it back four years later, with 55 per cent of the vote.

The latest statistics available has Surrey-Whalley’s population at 58,668 and for 45.90 per cent of its residents, English is a second language. The riding, considered to be one of the “safest” ridings for the NDP to keep, is 27 square kilometres in size and the average age of its residents is 37.5 years.

In the last provincial election, voter turnout in Surrey-Whalley was the second lowest in B.C., with 46.3 per cent turning out to vote.