Money doesn’t win elections but BC Liberal Party candidates’ election spending in the Central Okanagan seems to suggest it helps.
The region’s three Liberal MLA’s each spent more than the combination of their respective opponents while seeking office in B.C.’s October 2020 election, according to Elections BC data.
Kelowna-Lake Country’s Norm Letnick topped the list with more than $86,000 in available funds — $63,000 of which came from the BC Liberal Party itself. Letnick ended up spending just more than $47,000 during the election. His nearest competitor in that riding, NDP candidate Justin Kulik, spent $977 and Green Party candidate John Janmaat spent $4,740. Janmaat and Kulik received their funding mostly from their parties.
In Kelowna-Mission, newly elected MLA Renee Merrifield led the riding with more than $36,000 in spending, all coming directly from her party. NDP candidate Krystal Smith spent just more than $3,200 and the Green Party’s Amanda Poon spent almost $10,000. Smith’s and Poon’s donations came entirely from their respective parties.
MLA Ben Stewart, while trailing his BC Liberal counterparts, led the Kelowna West riding candidates in spending with more than $31,000 in total expenditures. Contributions to Stewart’s campaign came entirely from the BC Liberal party. The NDP’s Spring Hawes spent just more than $3,500 and the Green Party’s Peter Truch spent almost $3,200. Truch listed two private contributions of $300 each.
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