‘Extremely optimistic’ Tory clings to slim lead in Vancouver Island North

Saying at his Comox Valley election headquarters that he was “extremely optimistic,” Conservative incumbent John Duncan continued to wage another close battle with an NDP opponent in Vancouver Island North.

Mike Holland

Mike Holland

Saying at his Comox Valley election headquarters that he was “extremely optimistic,” Conservative incumbent John Duncan continued to wage another close battle with an NDP opponent in Vancouver Island North.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” Duncan said at his Comox Valley election night headquarters at a Courtenay restaurant, no doubt a lesson he learned in winning two of three battles with former Vancouver Island North NDP candidate Catherine Bell.

With 245 of 298 polls having reported, Duncan had garnered 20,790 votes for a slim 260-vote advantage over NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard, a City of Courtenay councillor in her first federal election.

Duncan has won the seat in the sprawling, sparsely populated riding five of the past six elections.

In what quickly had become a two-person race, Duncan held 44.8 per cent of the riding’s popular vote, with Leonard at 44.3 with 53 polls to go.

Third-place Sue Moen of the Green Party continued to hold a narrow lead over Liberal Mike Holland, reflecting the Liberals’ collapse nationally. After 245 polls reported, Moen had 2,437 ballots, compared to 2,350 for Holland.

Independent Jason Draper and Frank Martin of the Marxist-Leninist Party trailed them with 240 and 44 votes respectively.

Even without Vancouver Island North, the Conservatives won the majority government leader Stephen Harper asked for, leading or elected in 166 of 308 ridings with 39.6 per cent of the popular vote. The NDP held onto the momentum they gained in the final two weeks of the campaign and were leading in 102 seats with 30.7 per cent of the popular vote.

The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois suffered embarrassing setbacks, with the once-mighty Liberals ahead in just 35 seats and the BQ leading in a mere four seats.

Green Party national leader Elizabeth May became the first Green elected in North America.