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Battleground BC

Richmond: Solidly Liberal

Last time the NDP won anything here: 1972.

By Will McMartin, 13 Apr 2005,

One of Battleground BC's five 'right-of-centre' sub-regions, Richmond has seldom returned a centre-left MLA to Victoria.

The municipality became a stand-alone riding in 1903, the year that party politics arrived in B.C. It was won by the Conservatives in 1907, 1909 and 1912, by the Liberals in 1916, and again by the Conservatives in 1920.

Redistribution then made the district part of a new riding, Richmond-Point Grey. It was won by the Provincial Party (an offshoot of the Conservatives) in 1924, and by the Conservatives in 1928. Five years later, however, Richmond disappeared from the electoral map as it was subsumed in the larger Delta riding.

It was resuscitated prior to the 1966 general election, and won in that contest by Ernie LeCours, a Socred. He also won a second term in 1969.

The New Democratic Party recorded its only victory in the riding in 1972, when Harold Steves beat LeCours by more than 5,600 votes. But Steves fell 5,300 votes short in 1975 to a Socred newcomer, Jim Nielsen, who retained the seat in 1979 and 1983.

In 1986, Richmond became a two-member riding, and that same year Bill Vander Zalm succeeded Bill Bennett as leader of the Social Credit party. Nielsen opted not to seek re-election, and Vander Zalm and running-mate Nick Loenen easily topped the Richmond polls.

Redistribution created three new Richmond ridings in 1991, all of which were won by Liberals: Linda Reid captured Richmond East; Doug Symons prevailed in Richmond Centre; and Allan Warnke was victorious in Richmond-Steveston.

The Liberals won all three seats again in 1996 - as Reid and Symons were re-elected, and Geoff Plant succeeded Warnke - and once more in 2001 - when Reid and Plant won re-election, and Greg Halsey-Brandt took over from Symons. All three Richmond seats should return Liberal MLAs in 2005.

TABLE -- Richmond ridings listed in order of Liberals' 2001 vote-share

  • Richmond Centre - 71.9%
  • Richmond East - 69.2 %
  • Richmond-Steveston - 69.2%

Check in daily for Battleground BC, Will McMartin's voting predictions and analysis, exclusive to The Tyee. You can reach him with tips, insights and info at  [Tyee]