Conservative candidate Tracy Gray will be heading to Ottawa to represent Kelowna-Lake Country after beating Liberal incumbent Stephen Fuhr during Monday’s federal election.
Gray, who is the first female-candidate to represent the riding, won with 45.7 of the popular vote garnering a total of 31,037 votes, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada.
Fuhr finished the race with 32.6 per cent of the popular vote, while the NDP’s Justin Kulik, finished third with 12.1 per cent. Green Party candidate Travis Ashley finished a distant fourth with 7.4 per cent of the popular vote.
“Tonight this is really about you and this is about the people of Kelowna-Lake Country,” said Gray, during her victory speech at the Ramada Hotel. “I just want to thank all of you for your support and dedication.”
During her speech she thanked her family, campaign team and her volunteers. She also took time to thank Fuhr for his hard work over the past four years and the other candidates who ran for election.
Following her speech, she told the media she intends to hold the government to account and fight for the issues that matter to residents in Kelowna-Lake Country including affordability and alleviating the tax burden.
“I’m just so thankful to have earned the respect and support from people here and I am going to work hard for them,” said Gray.
Fuhr graciously accepted defeat during a concession speech at BNA Brewery Co. shortly after Gray’s speech.
“Obviously this isn’t the way I wanted it to end,” said Fuhr. “The good news is I started the journey with 40 friends and I have a lot more of them now and we have a Liberal government at the end of the day.”
He also took time to thank his volunteers and staff as well as Gray on her victory.
“To the MP elect, congratulations,” said Fuhr, fighting back tears as he encouraged her to hold onto his staff as he did when he won in 2015.
Kulik, who finished third, said he was proud of the campaign he ran and tried calling Gray’s office to congratulate her on her victory.
“It’s not the result we wanted of course, but I’m proud of the campaign we ran,” said Kulik. “This isn’t the end of the fight.”
PPC candidate John Barr finished with less than two per of the popular vote, while both independent candidates earned less than one per cent.
Elsewhere in the Okanagan, the Conservatives held onto their seats re-electing Dan Albas in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and elected Mel Arnold in North Okanagan-Shuswap.
South of Kelowna, NDP incumbent Richard Cannings won a second term to represent South Okanagan – West Kootenay.
Nationally, the Liberals won 157 seats, not enough to form a majority government, while the Conservatives won 121 seats. The Bloc Québécois finished the night with 32 seats, followed by the NDP with 24 seats, the Greens with three seats and one independent candidate was elected.