More than 70 New Democratic Party supporters stared blankly at TV screens in the party’s headquarters Tuesday night near the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Cooper Road.
Although there was some disappointment that the local NDP candidates didn’t break into any of the three Kelowna ridings, most of the frustration was linked to the provincial results.
“We went in with a pretty good lead a couple weeks ago,” said Kelowna-Lake Country NDP candidate Mike Nuyens.
“We anticipated there were a number of people who were undecided; I guess, as we see, things have changed around a little bit.”
Preliminary numbers Thursday night indicated Nuyens collected about 24 per cent of the Kelowna-Lake Country vote, while Liberal incumbent Norm Letnick managed to earn approximately 57 per cent.
“I thought it was going to be a little closer than what it was,” said Nuyens.
“What we heard is people are interested in having a change.”
Kelowna-Mission NDP hopeful Tish Lakes wasn’t willing to concede the NDP loss even after several television stations were declaring the Liberal Party had earned a majority government.
“They’re calling it a Liberal government, but there’s such a big chunk of the poll missing,” said Lakes.
Lakes wasn’t initially expected to be the Kelowna-Mission NDP candidate. She was named as replacement candidate for the party after Dayleen Van Ryswyk was asked to quit regarding controversial comments she made in an online community forum four years ago.
Lakes said Van Ryswyk’s departure didn’t hurt the NDP’s campaign in the Kelowna-Mission riding and added all four candidates ran a “reasonably respectful campaign.”
She did, however, say the Liberal government’s triumph was a result of negative advertising.
Westside-Kelowna NDP challenger Carole Gordon agreed.
“Unfortunately, attack ads and negative ads have worked provincially and locally here,” said Gordon.
“Although the campaigns locally have been positive, the provincial machine has been really strong here.”
Gordon challenged the elected local MLAs to “bring respect to government” and “listen to the people” during her speech at the NDP headquarters Tuesday night.
She added she has confidence Okanagan NDP candidates will be in closer battles when the next election occurs.
“Every time we run here we get stronger and stronger,” said Gordon.
“Four years from now, we will be back.”