ELECTION 2015: Aldag claims new riding for Liberals

Cloverdale-Langley City: Liberal candidate 'excited, honoured and humbled' to be elected as he upends all predictions for new riding.

John Aldag with supporters in Cloverdale Monday.

Voters in the newly formed riding of Cloverdale-Langley City decided to go with the national flow on Monday night, electing Liberal John Aldag to be their representative in Ottawa.

At a celebration at a Cloverdale hotel, about 50 supporters sang ‘Na Na, Goodbye,’ as Aldag was declared victorious, ahead of second place finisher, Conservative Dean Drysdale.

Speaking shortly afterward, Aldag said he is “excited, honoured and humbled” to be elected in the new riding.

“All of those things that come to mind when somebody is selected by people through a vote.

“This is my first time and it’s an amazing feeling,” said Aldag.

The new MP said he is most excited to meet with constituents and talk about their priorities.

“I’ve been doing it for almost two years now, and I have a sense of what the issues are, but this now actually means we can start framing what our priorities are,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to actually hearing from our leader about timelines, so we can start implementing our investments and infrastructure.

“This is going to be about getting a better plan going.”

Aldag, a Parks Canada employee of 32 years and father of three, began his campaign in December, 2013 after stepping down from his job in the federal government. In that time, he estimated, he knocked on 25,000 doors and walked more than 1,000 kms on his way to Monday night’s victory.

Aldag’s win upended all predictions for the newly-drawn riding, considered to be safe Conservative territory, even without an incumbent MP.

But Aldag, 52, ran what observers described as a lively campaign, at one point circumnavigating the new riding’s boundaries, a journey of about 50 kms, in order to draw attention to the 42nd federal election – and to encourage people to vote.

He’s pledged to form a community advisory group in Cloverdale-Langley City within the first 100 days in office, and advocate for significant transit improvements in under serviced areas.

With official results pending, Aldag is shown winning with 24,599 votes, capturing 45.5 per cent of the popular vote – and a 5,783 vote margin ahead of Drysdale (18,816 votes, and 34.8 per cent of the vote). NDP candidate Rebecca Smith was third with 8,426 votes (15.6 per cent), and Scott Anderson (Green) 2,246 votes (4.2 per cent).

Turnout was 70.2 per cent for Cloverdale-Langley City, with more than 54,000 voters casting ballots out of 77,000 registered.

Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts was the only Conservative to secure a seat in Surrey – she won a nail-biter in South Surrey-White Rock, where Liberal challenger Judy Higginbotham proved a tough contender until late in the night, winning by 1,439 votes, or 2.5 per cent. Pixie Hobby (NDP) came third, followed by Green Larry Colero.

Incumbent Conservative Nina Grewal lost to Liberal Ken Hardie in Fleetwood-Port Kells, where the NDP’s Garry Begg was in third place. Hardie beat Grewal by more than 8,500 votes, a 17.5 per cent margin.

In Surrey-Newton, the Liberal tide swept incumbent NDP MP Jinny Sims aside, with Sukh Dhaliwal claiming the riding ahead of her with 13,265 votes, and ahead of Harpreet Singh (Cons.) and Pamela Sangha (Green).

In Surrey Centre, Randeep Sarai (L) beat the NDP’s Jasbir Sandhu, and Sucha Thind (C).

Incumbent MP Mark Warwara held Langley-Aldergrove for the Conservatives.

Warawa is the only Member of Parliament who has represented Langley since the now-reconfigured riding was created in 2004.

Nationally, the Liberals are shown elected or leading in 185 ridings, a clear majority, the Conservatives with 100 seats, NDP 42, Bloc Quebec 10, and Green 1.

– Miranda Gathercole, with files from Jennifer Lang, Dan Ferguson and Brenda AndersonFollow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.