Outgoing Conservative MP Jim Abbott celebrates with Kootenay-Columbia Conservative candidate David Wilks at the Wilks campaigns headquarters on May 2.

Outgoing Conservative MP Jim Abbott celebrates with Kootenay-Columbia Conservative candidate David Wilks at the Wilks campaigns headquarters on May 2.

UPDATED: Conservative David Wilks winner in Kootenay-Columbia

Conservative candidate David Wilks is the projected winner in the Kootenay-Columbia riding this 41st Canadian General Election.

Conservative candidate David Wilks is the winner in the Kootenay-Columbia riding this 41st Canadian General Election.

With 209 of 209 polls reporting, Wilks has 23,886 votes, or 55.9 per cent, beating NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky’s 14,161 votes, at 33.2 per cent.

Green Party Candidate Bill Green got 2,532 votes, totalling 5.9 per cent. Liberal candidate Betty Aitchison earned 1,492 votes, totalling 3.5. per cent. Independent candidate Brent Bush threw his support behind NDP candidate Shmigelsky on April 28, but nevertheless earned 643 votes, or 1.5 per cent.

Wilks, 51, is the Mayor of Sparwood, a position he will resign once he becomes Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia. Likewise for his position as director on the board of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).

Wilks is a former RCMP officer who ran on a tough-on-crime agenda.

It was Wilks’ first run in Kootenay-Columbia. He replaces long-serving Conservative MP Jim Abbott, who has reigned in the riding since 1993, representing the Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative parties.

Abbott announced in 2010 that he was retiring, and wouldn’t seek re-election.

The two-way race was between the Conservatives and NDP, who ran candidates with similar track records in local and regional governments. Wilks is Mayor of Sparwood, while NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky is the former Mayor of Invermere. Both served as municipal councillors before that, and both had experience as directors on regional government boards, serving on the RDEK.

Check back to www.revelstoketimesreview.com on May 3 for reaction to local election developments.