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WEST KELOWNA, B.C. — Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Conservative Dan Albas won a tight race in what was a new riding in 2015 and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s regular presence in the British Columbia Interior over the summer suggests the Liberals are hoping for a swing. The Liberals are banking on Mary Ann Murphy, a health and social policy expert, whose expertise in aging may help her connect with the riding’s population — 27 per cent of whom are seniors. Also in the race is New Democrat Joan Phillip, an advocate for Indigenous rights and the environment. She and her husband, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, were awarded the Eugene Rogers Environmental Award by Wilderness Committee in 2017.

Population: 110,293.

Major communities: West Kelowna, Summerland, Coldwater, Merritt, Peachland, Princeton, Logan Lake, Keremeos.

Incumbent: Albas owned a martial arts studio before entering public life. He was first elected in 2011 and is the Conservative shadow minister for small business. The Conservative Party says he’s consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter.

Main challengers: Liberal candidate Mary Ann Murphy; NDP candidate Joan Phillip; and Green candidate Robert Mellalieu, who won four per cent of the votes in 2015.

Election history: A boundary shift created this new riding in 2015. Albas won with nearly 40 per cent of the votes ahead of the Liberals at 37 per cent. Before that, Albas won handily in Okanagan-Coquihalla over the NDP in 2011. The former riding was long held by former Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day before his retirement from politics.

Fun fact: The winner of the 2018 mayor’s race in Peachland was decided by pulling a name from a box after the top two candidates tied with 804 votes each.

The Canadian Press

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