Premier Christy Clark won the Westside-Kelowna byelection on Wednesday night, with 63 per cent of the popular vote according to Elections B.C.'s preliminary results.
Clark took the stage at Kelowna's Grand Hotel just before 10 p.m. PT to announce her victory, and thank those who supported her run for the B.C. legislature.
"Thank you, Westside-Kelowna, for welcoming me with open arms and open hearts. I am so grateful for that," she said.
"I'm going to do everything that I can — everything that I can — to earn and deserve the support that the people of this community have given to me tonight."
Voting ended at 8 p.m. PT, and by 10:35 p.m., ballots from all 171 boxes had been counted: 17,012 in total.
Clark's count at that time was 10,666, or 62.7 per cent, while the NDP's Carole Gordon had 5,045, or 29.7 per cent. The results will not be finalized until after July 17, when a final ballot count begins, Elections B.C. said.
Eight candidates were vying for the seat in Westside-Kelowna, where former Liberal MLA Ben Stewart stepped down in June in order to give Clark a chance.
Clark lost her previous seat in Vancouver-Point Grey in the general election in May. As the leader of the governing Liberal Party, she could hold the title of premier without a seat, but couldn't enter the legislature.
Some Kelowna-area candidates had positioned themselves as good, local, choices for the riding, while criticizing Clark as an outsider. Clark currently lives in Vancouver, where her son goes to school, but promised to establish a second residence in Kelowna if she won.
Addressing reporters after most of the ballot counts came in Wednesday night, Clark said she is committed to representing local concerns.
"I hope that, over the time, during the campaign, people felt like I demonstrated a real knowledge of the local issues," she said.
"I intend to deliver on that…The proof is going to be in four years, when I come back and seek everybody's votes again, if they say I delivered on what I was going to do."
With files from the CBC's Renee Filippone
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