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‘What grudge?’ Conservative Cardoso on nearly playing spoiler

So, is Joe Cardoso happy to have been able to put a bit of scare into B.C. Liberal John Slater in Boundary-Similkameen?

Cardoso was a long-time Liberal and the duly-nominated candidate in the riding until he was jettisoned by party brass earlier this spring, apparently because of an undisclosed 2005 letter to the editor that called for Premier Gordon Campbell's resignation.

Cardoso exacted some revenge by running as a B.C. Conservative in the riding.

As it turned out on Tuesday, Slater staked a slim early lead and then managed to hold off his NDP challenger Lakhvinder Jhaj to narrowly win.

But the Cardoso effect added some drama to the evening.

Speculation that Cardoso’s new affiliation with the Conservatives would draw right-wing voters away from Slater and leave the door open for Jhaj was validated by what looked to be the weakest mandate in the province for the first-time Liberal MLA.

And with the bulk of B.C.’s polls reporting, Cardoso appeared to have captured more votes than any of the other 23 Conservative candidates in the province.

Major centres in the Boundary-Similkameen riding include Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Grand Forks.

Slater, a former Osoyoos mayor, claimed the redrawn riding with 37 per cent of votes cast with 116 of 118 ballot boxes reported. The NDP’s Jhaj finished second, about four percentage points back. Cardoso placed third with 20 per of the vote, while the Greens’ Bob Grieve finished a distant fourth.

Cardoso spent election evening at home in Osoyoos and told The Tyee he was concerned about splitting the right-wing vote, although that proved not to be an issue for him in the end.

Still, he was satisfied with the outcome and his party’s showing. What’s more, he dispelled any talk of a grudge against the Liberals.

“What grudge? I’m happy being where I am,” Cardoso said. “I think this is the way the universe was intended to unfold.”

Joe Fries wrote for The Tyee about becoming an unemployed reporter and returning to his home town of Mackenzie.

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