The BC Conservatives elected Dan Brooks as their new leader over the weekend. My sense is that he was much more realistic about the future of the party than Rick Peterson was. Without a dramatic change in the political landscape there is no realistic path for the BC Conservatives to win more than a couple of seats in 2017.
Dan Brooks has a monumental task ahead of him to elect anyone in the 2017 election but the BCCP does have some areas of more concentrated support which means electing a couple of MLAs is not impossible. They are still the underdogs unless they build strong grassroots.
In 2009 the party only ran 24 candidates. Even with so few candidates in 2009 the party had measurable strength in the Okanagan and not just because former BC Liberal candidate Joe Cardosso ran as a Conservative Boundary Similkameen.
In 2013 it ran 61 though only 56 of them were on the ballot as Conservatives. The party did not improve on their 2009 results in the Okanagan but did have a strong result in Peace River South, their best result in decades.
Here are the best results in the last couple of elections
Peace River South 2013 2,546 27.2% - second place
Chilliwack Hope 2012 3,615 25.2% - by-election
Boundary Similkameen 2009 3,596 20.2%
Port Moody Coquitlam 2012 1,766 15.4% - by-election
Chilliwack 2009 2,672 14.7%
Shuswap 2013 3,045 12.9%
Parksville Qualicum 2013 3,701 12.8%
Kelowna Mission 2013 3,051 12.7%
Nechako Lakes 2013 1,253 12.7%
Chilliwack 2013 2,510 12.0%
Kelowna Mission 2009 2,531 11.9%
Langley 2013 3,242 11.9% - party leader
Vernon Monashee 2013 3,169 11.8%
Richmond Steveston 2013 2,662 11.4%
Kelowna Lake Country 2009 2,253 11.4%
Westside Kelowna 2013 2,466 11.1%
Kelowna Lake Country 2013 2,351 11.0%
Few of the areas where there is strength for the party are any surprise other than Richmond Steveston.
To win any of these seats will take serious local organization. The only riding where the party can start as a serious contender is in Peace River South. The next ten 2013 results are far enough behind that the party has to overcome the assumption that it is not a factor in the race. This can be done in two ways, recruiting a high profile candidate or building a strong local team with several hundred active members.
I am not going to make any predictions of what seats the BC Conservatives might win because the party needs to do a lot more to prove itself before it can be taken seriously as a threat.