Premier Christy Clark needs to match Gordon Campbell's 2009 showing in the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election to have a credible victory, B.C. New Democrat David Eby says.
"Any indication that the voters liked Campbell better than Christy Clark is going to be tough for her politically," Mr. Eby said on Tuesday, noting that his campaign is, nonetheless, "going for the win" on Wednesday.
Ms. Clark is seeking a legislature seat in the riding her predecessor represented for most of his provincial political career.
In 2009, Mr. Campbell won 50 per cent of the votes, while his NDP rival had 40 per cent. Mr. Eby said that, at the very least, he wants to get enough votes to prevent Ms. Clark from doing as well or better.
"The political embarrassment of Gordon Campbell doing better than her in this riding is the lowest bar that we're going for," said Mr. Eby, a lawyer on leave from his post as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
As Mr. Eby made a last-minute appeal for Green voters to rally behind his campaign, he conceded on Tuesday there has been no money for polling, so he is relying on speaking to people while door-knocking and other voter outreach to get a sense of where things stand. No polls have been made public during the campaign.
"It's going to be about who can pull the vote on election day," said Mr. Eby, noting his campaign will have 200 volunteers to make that happen.
But Ms. Clark laughed off Mr. Eby's assertions regarding the need to match Mr. Campbell's numbers.
"David Eby is trying to hedge his bets a little bit here. A win is a win, and I would be delighted to squeeze a win out of this - be the first member of a government running in a by-election in 30 years to win," said Ms. Clark. "That's what I am focused on."
Like Mr. Eby, Ms. Clark said the outcome of the race will hinge on turnout.
"Typically in by-elections, people who are satisfied with the way that government is working are less likely to get out and vote, and I know that a majority of people in this riding are satisfied with the way that government is working, but we have to hope they will turn out to the polls," she said.
She added that B.C. Liberals will have at least 400 volunteers helping get people out to vote.
Ms. Clark rejected NDP suggestions outlined in a letter to Elections BC that she was using taxpayers' resources to campaign by making a government spending announcement in the riding.
"The NDP would be happy if I quit doing my job for a whole month and then they would complain that I wasn't getting anything done," Ms. Clark said. "I have been doing my job as Premier at the same time as I have been trying to be a candidate."
A spokesman for Elections BC said a letter had been sent to the NDP responding to the concerns.
An NDP spokesperson said Elections BC found the Premier had not violated the Elections Act, but the party's complaint about Ms. Clark's use of her government Twitter account for campaign-related communications is not yet resolved.
Ms. Clark was an MLA in the B.C. Legislature from 1996 until she left politics in 2005 to spend more time with her young son. She won the leadership of the B.C. Liberals in February.
A Liberal defeat would be a massive blow to Ms. Clark, who has said she is eager to get into the legislature to face off against the new NDP Leader, Adrian Dix.
A Liberal win would be a blow for Mr. Dix given the considerable resources his party has thrown into the race, which the NDP is calling a first opportunity for voters to express their feelings about the controversial harmonized sales tax.