COQUITLAM — Minutes before the winner of the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain NDP nomination was announced, candidate Chris Wilson was anxiously pacing the gym at Nestor Elementary.
Just a few moments later at 4:30 p.m., he breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The former Olympic wrestler and current KidsSport Tri-Cities chair had secured the nomination Sunday as the NDP candidate in the upcoming election.
He narrowly defeated high-profile candidate and rocker Joe Keithley in a four-way race that also included former Coquitlam councillor Barrie Lynch and Vincent Wu.
"I totally love Coquitlam," an emotional Wilson said following his victory.
"To be in a position to represent this community is phenomenal."
He credited Keithley for running a great campaign, but suggested support from other local NDP politicians like MP Fin Donnelly and Coquitlam city councillor Selina Robinson, helped seal the victory.
"I think what helped me was my involvement in the community," Wilson said.
The local constituency did not release the final tally of votes to the media, but it was noted membership grew in the riding to 600 from 40 before the race.
Joe Keithley said he was disappointed with the result, but added he believed Wilson is a good candidate to beat current Liberal MLA Doug Horne.
The rocker turned political hopeful pinned Wilson's success on being in the community for years.
Keithley lives in Burnaby, but suggested he would move to the riding had he won a seat in the legislature.
He said he's not sure what his political future will hold, but he hinted he isn't finished with politics.