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BC Liberals spent big to lose October byelections to NDP

The BC Liberal Party is heading into the provincial election campaign with flush finances, according to reports released by Elections BC today. But if the Oct. 29, 2008 byelections are any indication, spending piles of money won't guarantee victory.

Losing Liberal campaigns spent nearly 50 percent more money on election expenses than the winning ones run by the NDP in the two Vancouver byelections, according to a report from Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld released last week.

Arthur Griffiths' Liberal campaign spent $91,416 in Burrard, compared to the NDP's Spencer Herbert's $62,113, but Herbert won by 6,998 to 5,089 votes.

Over in Fairview, Liberal Margaret MacDiarmid outspent NDP candidate Jenn McGinn by $92,092 to $67,192. But McGinn came out ahead, 5,752 to 4,936.

Both the NDP and the Liberal campaigns far outspent any of the other three parties that ran candidates. Those three parties each ran their leader in one or the other constituency, and in all cases those leaders spent roughly triple the money the other candidate from their party spent.

Conservative leader Wilf Hanni's campaign spent $6,886 in Burrard, compared to $2,379 for his party mate Ian McLeod in Fairview.

Green Leader Jane Sterk's outflow in Burrard was $7,773, compared to Drina Read's $2,689 in Fairview.

And Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery's team spent $1,408 in Fairview, more than triple the $430 his wife Jodie Emery spent running in Burrard.

Neufeld's report also gives results for each of the 125 or so voting areas in each constituency, showing which blocks of the city went which way.

In the advanced voting in Burrard, for instance, the NDP's Herbert beat the Liberal's Griffiths by 826 to 439 at the Sunset Towers in the West End, but lost to him by 142 votes at the Roundhouse Community Centre in False Creek. During general voting Griffiths beat Herbert solidly in False Creek, but Herbert cleaned up at numerous polls in the West End.

In Fairview, the Liberal's MacDiarmid won the advance voting at Fairview Presbyterian Church at 11th and Fir, but the NDP's McGinn took the Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium over on 10th close to Main Street. In general, MacDiarmid had her biggest wins in the southern part of the constituency near Queen Elizabeth Park, but McGinn owned Main Street.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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