In the end, it wasn't even that close.
Former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan took 53 percent of the 515 votes (not counting two spoiled ballots) tonight for the B.C. Liberal nomination in Vancouver—False Creek.
Runner-up Lorne Mayencourt, a former B.C. Liberal MLA, ended up with 202 votes and lawyer Brian Fixter came third with 40 votes.
"I am so deeply moved," Sullivan told reporters shortly after his victory was announced at the Century Plaza Hotel.
Later, he declared that he took no joy in defeating Mayencourt, who represented Vancouver-Burrard in the legislature from 2001 to 2008.
"He has served the public so well for so many years," Sullivan said.
Mayencourt was not present in the room when the results were announced.
Sullivan attributed his victory to his campaign's focus on young people, noting that Vancouver–False Creek has the lowest average age of any constituency in B.C.
"These are the people that are making the economy of our future," he said. "We need to support them."
Sullivan also emphasized his desire to promote the arts.
"This riding is not only downtown British Columbia, it's the seat of many of our cultural organizations, the cultural industries," he stated. "It's actually an economic issue. We need to provide the best, thriving, rich, dynamic cultural environment. I want to get involved in that."
In 2005, Sullivan narrowly defeated Christy Clark for the NPA mayoral nomination. When asked about his relationship with the premier, Sullivan described her as "a classy lady".
"She got involved with the  campaign, helped me out, sat on the committee," he recalled. "Politics is interesting, you know. One day, you're enemies. The next day, you're friends."
He claimed not to know much about Matt Toner, a digital-media entrepreneur who is running for the NDP in Vancouver–False Creek. "He's an unknown, so I'm looking forward to learning more about him," Sullivan said.
Sullivan has been out of politics since late 2008, when his only term as mayor expired. He was on Vancouver city council from 1993 to 2005.
More recently, he has taught at UBC and ran a society offering public lectures on a wide range of issues.
"I realized all of the great thoughts, all of the academic studies, aren't worth anything unless you do something with it," he said.