PORT MOODY (NEWS1130) – Call it a surprise NDP sweep.

Former Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini easily won the riding of Port-Moody Coquitlam for the NDP.

Trasolini says he wants to be part of a growing progressive movement and feels the victory is a resounding endorsement of the party and the campaign it ran.

He hopes to bring the same work ethic to the province that he did as Port Moody’s longest-standing mayor. “My approach is to be acceptable, open and… a person that consults with the community. It’s the way to go as the representative.”

He feels the NDP is the party that appeals to a wider range of interests and people.

Trasolini drew 54 per cent of the vote, compared to the Liberals’ 30 per cent and Conservatives’ 15 per cent.

In Chilliwack-Hope, Gwen O’Mahoney will be the cities’ first-ever NDP MLA. She says she is overjoyed and honoured to be voted in and is looking forward to getting to work.

She feels it was old fashioned hard work that got her — and the NDP — elected.

“Sticking to it; I ran in ’09, and again, I ran federally, and I have taken inspiration from Jack Layton. I remember listening to a story about Jack Layton and how he didn’t win on his first attempt to be MP, but he went on his second, then he went on his third attempt and he was successful. So I carried that message of just not giving up.”

Adrian Dix insists he’s not going to take things for granted

The leader of the BC NDP is pleased with the way his candidates in performed in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope. But Adrian Dix doesn’t believe for a minute a split on the right helped the New Democrats win in the Fraser Valley.

“I don’t agree with that at all.  The NDP in both constituencies increased their vote pretty significantly. I think it’s really disrespectful to the voters who didn’t vote Liberal last night to suggest that they would have voted Liberal if they had other choices.”

Dix says there is still has a lot of work to do until next year’s provincial election. With predictions the New Democrats will do well in the next provincial election, he rejects the idea he’s “Premier-in-Waiting.”

“In fairness to the government and everyone else, it was a by-election last night. People made their choices based on that, and I respect the voters enough to know that we have to keep earning their support.”

He believes the NDP will win in 2013 by running the same kind of campaign that won them the by-elections.

BC Liberals likely pleased with second-place finish: expert

In an emailed statement from Premier Christy Clark, of the BC Liberals, she congratulates the winners but says voters know that by-elections are not about changing government.

“It’s never been clearer that only a unified free enterprise coalition can defeat the NDP. That’s why we are focused on strengthening our coalition so that in the next general election voters will have a clear choice between the free enterprise coalition and the NDP. A choice between higher income taxes, reckless government spending and runaway debt or our free enterprise coalition that is keeping taxes low, restraining government spending and keeping our economy growing with jobs for BC families.”

A public policy professor at SFU feels despite the losses, the BC Liberals are showing they have some staying power.

“A lot of people thought the Conservatives would come in ahead of the Liberals,” says Doug McArthur.

“In some ways, I think the Liberals must be feeling pretty good because they knew the NDP was going to be riding this swing against the Liberals’ popularity right now. But the Liberals have managed to hang in there and stay ahead of the Conservatives, whereas the greatest fear was they were going to fall behind the Conservatives.”

He doesn’t think it was too surprising to see the Conservatives come up short, since they’re a relatively new party. “It’s only a year away from the election. They have to worry about if they want to try to challenge the Liberals, which is their goal.”

McArthur suspects the Conservative party still doesn’t have a campaign on the ground. “The question becomes ‘Can you get the people to come out and actually vote for you?’”

So are the Liberals looking to unite the right?

“I think a lot of people in the Liberal party will look to Port Moody-Coquitlam and say, ‘Well, in that seat, we’ve almost doubled the Conservative vote,” he says, adding uniting the right may mean coming over to the Liberals.