A bulwark for the BC Conservatives has become a black hole.
Despite winning more votes in the Central Okanagan than in any other part of the province in the 2017 provincial election, the party wasn't able to get anyone to carry its colours this time around.
"I am disappointed we couldn't get candidates in the three Kelowna ridings," Conservative Leader Trevor Bolin said Monday. "I know our party's message resonates particularly well in Kelowna and the Okanagan.
"We did have two or three people who were interested in becoming candidates, but they decided in the end not to run, either for personal reasons or, in one case, because their family just had a new baby," Brolin said.
"That's one of the many things wrong with the NDP calling this snap election," Brolin said. "There just hasn't been time for people to consider putting their names forward as candidates."
In recent elections when they've presented local candidates, the BC Conservatives averaged 10.4 per cent of all ballots cast in the Kelowna-area ridings, far above the one-half of one per cent the party earned province-wide in the 2017 vote.
There is no connection between the B.C. Conservatives and the Conservative Party of Canada. In B.C., the provincial Liberal party is viewed as a coalition of federal Conservatives and federal Liberals, who work together to try prevent an NDP victory.
While the B.C. Conservatives are a fringe outfit, with little funding and only 19 candidates heading into the Oct. 24 election, they can play a role in drawing votes that might otherwise go to the provincial Liberals.
In 2017, Conservative candidate Leah McCulloch won 2,061 votes in Courtney-Comox, which was won by the NDP by 190 votes. The Liberals ended that election with 43 seats, one short of a majority, and a coalition of the NDP and Greens eventually assumed power.
But Bolin said he doesn't believe the BC Conservatives draw votes from the Liberals.
"I hear this all the time," he said. "But we can't take a single vote from the Liberals. They can only lose votes.
"The Liberals introduced the carbon tax, and the NDP raised it. Neither party has done any meaningful reform to ICBC," Brolin said. "If there's vote-splitting, it's between the Liberals and the NDP. We have a completely different platform."
There is one B.C. Conservative candidate in the Okanagan, Kyle Delfing in Vernon-Monashee.