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Eight candidates enter Westside-Kelowna byelection race

Half of the eight candidates contesting the byelection in Westside-Kelowna are running as independents.

The seat became open when BC Liberal MLA Ben Stewart resigned to make room in the legislature for Premier Christy Clark after she lost in Vancouver-Point Grey.

Carole Gordon, who won about 30 percent of the vote against Stewart during the general election, is running again for the BC NDP. Sean Upshaw is the BC Conservative candidate, having run for the party in Penticton in May.

Also running is Jag Bhandari, the leader of the BC Vision party, which had a couple candidates poached by the BC Conservatives in the general election. In that contest Bhandari won a few hundred votes running in Surrey-Whalley.

The Tyee noted Bhandari's enthusiasm for municipal politics in 2008 when he ran to be not only a Surrey councillor, but also mayor of Whistler.

The independents include Dayleen Van Ryswyk who resigned as a BC NDP candidate in Kelowna-Mission on the first day of the official general election campaign after the BC Liberals circulated comments she'd made a few years earlier on an online discussion board criticizing First Nations people. Her unaffiliated campaign attracted more than 1,000 votes.

The other independents running in the byelection are John Marks, Silverado Socrates and Korry Zepik. Socrates was recently inducted into the University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame for her success as a runner at the school in the 1980s. Zepik ran in Vernon-Monashee on an environmental platform and got about 150 votes.

Voting day is July 10.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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