Conservative Party of Canada candidate Claire Rattée topped the polls in Houston and area in the Oct. 21 federal election, a bright spot for her that was tempered by the showing elsewhere of New Democrat Taylor Bachrach who will be the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding’s new Member of Parliament in Ottawa.
With all polls for Houston and area reporting, Rattée received 1,028 votes to 305 for Bachrach in Houston and the immediate area. Liberal Dave Birdi received 178 votes, Rod Taylor of the Christian Heritage Party received 90 votes, Green Party candidate Mike Sawyer received 70 votes and Jody Craven of the People’s Party of Canada received 46 votes. Independent Danny Nunes received 5 votes while another independent, Merv Ritchie, received 2 votes.
Rattée’s vote total here mirrored that of Conservative candidate Tyler Nesbitt during the 2015 election when he gathered 785 votes, substantially more than the 491 for then-incumbent MP New Democrat Nathan Cullen and current Telkwa mayor Brad Layton who received 286 votes as the Liberal party candidate.
Rattée also topped the two polls in Topley with 199 votes compared to 51 for Bachrach, 37 for Birdi, 28 for Sawyer, 22 for Taylor, 7 for Craven and 1 for Nunes. No one voted for Ritchie.
Granisle was another win for Rattée with 104 votes compared to 51 for Bachrach. Taylor received 45 votes in that community with Birdi collecting 37, Sawyer collecting 14 and Craven gathering in 5 votes. Two people voted for Nunes and no one voted for Ritchie.
Across the riding Bachrach received 16,944 votes or 40.9 per cent of the turnout with Rattée collecting 13,756 votes for 33.2 per cent of the turnout. Birdi ran third with 4,793 votes or 11.6 per cent of the turnout with Sawyer coming in fourth with 3,280 votes or 7.9 per cent of the turnout. Taylor was next with 1,350 votes or 3.3 per cent while Craven gathered 940 votes or 2.3 per cent. Independent Nunes collected 164 votes for .4 per cent while Ritchie, the other independent, had 157 votes for .4 per cent.
All told, there were 41,384 votes cast with 267 being rejected. With 66,421 electors on the voters list, the turn out was 62.7 per cent, a drop from the 68.26 per cent turn out in 2015.
That 2015 election was easily won by New Democrat Nathan Cullen who collected 51.1 per cent of the popular vote overall, or 22,531 votes, for his fifth victory since his first election win in 2004. Conservative Nesbitt received 10,936 votes or 24.8 per cent, while Liberal Layton collected 8,257 votes or 18.7 per cent of the popular vote.
Green candidate Jeannie Parnell collected 1,605 votes for 3.6 per cent of the popular vote while the Christian Heritage Party’s Don Spratt came last with 780 votes, or 1.8 per cent of the popular vote.
Cullen announced this March that he would not run again, opening the way for a New Democratic Party nomination race won by Bachrach. With his victory now in hand, Bachrach will be resigning from his post as Mayor of Smithers, triggering a byelection.
Rattée, a tattoo parlour business owner from Kitimat and former municipal councillor in that community, won the Conservative nomination this spring by defeating Jody Craven who then went on to become the People’s Party of Canada candidate.
Advance polling numbers this election were up slightly from 2015 — 8,898 this time compared to 8,694 last time.