Peter Bevan-Baker has made P.E.I. political history by winning the Green Party’s first seat in the P.E.I. legislature.
Bevan-Baker was winning his district with an 900-vote lead over incumbent Liberal Valerie Docherty, who was at 1,001 votes with 11 of 12 polls reporting. Bevan-Baker dominated the district, taking 54 per cent of the votes.
With his win, it appears the party’s strategy to put all its efforts and resources toward getting him elected was a good move.
In this, the third election for the Green Party in P.E.I., the small-party tactic of putting all their resources behind Bevan-Baker had reasonable precedents. It worked for federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and recently in New Brunswick and B.C., where David Coon and Andrew Weaver, respectively, won their seats.
Bevan-Baker made an impact during the campaign, with strong showings in two televised debates, creating a significant social media presence.
In 2011, Bevan-Baker finished third in the district with just over nine per cent of the popular vote behind Docherty and Progressive Conservative Neila Auld.
From Hampton, dentist Bevan-Baker was acclaimed as leader of the Green Party in 2012 when Sharon Labchuck resigned after seven years at the helm.
With the exception of protesting against the controversial realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway, best known on the Island as Plan B, in Bevan-Baker’s district, the party remained relatively quiet between the last election and the beginning of the current campaign about eight weeks ago.
The party put together a field of 24 candidates, up slightly from 22 in 2011 when they won 4.4 per cent of the popular vote, just ahead of the NDP’s 3.2 per cent.
Last week the Greens released a poll they had commissioned that put Bevan-Baker at 37.8 per cent among decided voters in his district, just ahead of Docherty at 32.4 per cent.
Born in Scotland, Bevan-Baker has been associated with the Greens for 20 years, having run as a candidate in Ontario a number of times before moving to P.E.I. 12 years ago.