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Nine new additions to BC Conservative roster

BC Conservative Party Leader John Cummins took his campaign to Langley today, one of The Tyee's top 10 ridings to watch.

Cummins is facing off against BC Liberal Transportation Minister Mary Polak, the incumbent, in the upcoming provincial election. This morning Cummins was scheduled to spend time with the Langley Teachers' Association before heading to a barbecue fundraiser in North Delta to support a fellow Conservative candidate.

Meanwhile, nine new candidates joined the BC Conservatives' push for seats in the provincial legislature, creating a total of 54 so far.

Howard Wu is running in the Surrey-Cloverdale riding, which has been a Liberal stronghold for the last two decades. He works in the technology industry and describes himself as a "Canadian by choice." He arrived in Canada in 2004, after living in Taiwan and California.

Following news that fellow Conservative Ed Fehr will abandon his campaign over health concerns, Ed Klop is stepping up to take his place in the Kamloops-North Thompson riding. Klop has run twice in Alberta as a candidate for the Wildrose Party.

Leading the Conservative charge inSurrey-White Rock will be Elizabeth Pagtakhan, real estate agent and business owner originally from the Philippines. In the 2006 federal election, Pagtakhan ran as the Conservative candidate for East Vancouver, but afterward, her campaign was questioned for its use of advertising funds.

Rajiv Pandey is competing for a seat representing Vancouver Fraserview, a riding represented by the Liberals in the last three elections. Pandey immigrated from India in 1983 and has also worked as a realtor.

Campaigning for the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding, Ian McLeod previously ran for the BC Conservatives in the 2008 byelection and the 2009 general election. He is employed in a B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch and is a shop steward for the B.C. Government Employees Union.

Ryan Hague is vying for the Port Moody-Coquitlam seat. His professional experience includes time in Alberta's oil and gas industry, as well as managing and owning an electrical contracting business and working overseas in Africa.

Representing the Conservatives in Richmond Centre, Lawrence Chen used to be a professor, but he now works for the BC Wildlife Federation as a hunting examiner. He also faces winning over a riding dominated by Liberals since at least 1991.

In Surrey-Whalley, Sunny Chohan is hoping to oust current NDP MLA Bruce Ralston. Currently employed in telecommunications, Chohan is also active in the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society, where he served as president.

And finally, gunning for Penticton is Sean Upshaw, a real estate agent who has been engaged in charity with the Praise Christian Fellowship in Richmond and The Father's House in Abbotsford. His previous political experience includes an attempt to become the federal Conservative nominee for the Okanagan Coquihalla area.

Allison Griner is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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