Vancouver-Fairview down to the wire

Every vote counts in Vancouver-Fraserview and the one that was cast by its most famous political resident may not decide the winner after all.

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark errantly wrote her name on an absentee ballot at an advance poll in Burnaby on May 8 before realizing she should have written Margaret MacDiarmids monicker. Clark did not cross-out her name, leaving the ballots fate in the hands of Elections BC.

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The Health Minister was engaged in a see-saw battle with NDP challenger George Heyman three hours after the polls closed, but the NDP star candidate took off and was leading by 707 votes with 107 of 148 ballot boxes counted by 11:30 p.m.

MacDiarmid, Health Minister since Sept. 5, 2012, won the riding in 2009. It was previously represented by the NDPs Gregor Robertson before he quit to successfully run for the Vancouver mayoralty.

Heyman, on leave from heading the Sierra Club of B.C., won a nomination battle last October over Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs, whose wife, Jan OBrien, is the B.C. NDP president. While he watched the Fraserview results at NDP headquarters in the Vancouver Convention Centre, he was rueing the shocking loss for his party, which led all public opinion polls entering election day.

It's a very bittersweet night, said Heyman, the former British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union president. I'm disappointed. I was proud of the way Adrian (Dix) stayed on the high road.

MacDiarmid garnered 47.1% of the vote and beat the NDPs Jenn McGinn by 1,153 votes. Green Vanessa Violini had 9.5% of the vote for third place in the six-horse race.

The 23-year family physician chaired the B.C. Medical Association in 2006-2007 and recovered from a bout with breast cancer. Her previous portfolios included Education, Intergovernmental Relations, Citizens Services, and Tourism, Trade and Investment.

There's so many uncontrolled variables, MacDiarmid told the Courier, while watching the results come in at her campaign office on West 2nd Avenue. I honestly wouldn't have been surprised to have lost. It may yet happen.

MacDiarmid began the final day of the campaign with a yoga session and finished campaigning about an hour before polls closed. Heyman was knocking on doors and helping bring prospective voters to the polls until the very last minute.

2010goldrush@gmail.com

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