Monday, June 15, 2015

NEW BOUNDARIES: NDP

The new proposed electoral boundaries are not law yet but the impact on a handful of incumbent MHAs and previously nominated candidates is potentially career ending.

The New Democrats had a potentially problematic quagmire when the Commission erased the ND long-time stronghold of Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi. Since its creation in 1996, the seat has always been occupied by an NDP leader. 

Prior to that, much if the seat was in the old St. John's East District (pre-1996) which former ND Leader (and current St. John's East MP) Jack Harris represented from 1990 up to the 1996 redistribution. The SHQV seat picked up a swath of the old Pleasentville seat.

The challenge was that the new Virginia Waters - Pleasentville seat takes in a fair piece of the St. John's East (1996) and Virginia Waters (1996) seats.  With both SHQV and St. John's East represented by New Democrats, it was uncertain where the two incumbents might run, or if they might have to run against one another.  Lorraine Micheal, the incumbent from SHQV has a great deal of support in both of the new districts.

It looks like incumbent George Murphy may inherit a very strong traditional NDP vote in the newly aligned St. John's East - Quidi Vidi seat. In fact one could easily argue that the heart of the NDP cause is in that seat. 

Micheal has received great support from the Pleasentville part of her district but has inherited a part of the city that is fairly Conservative. The NDP did quite well in the parts of old St. John's East that is now in Virginia Waters - Pleasentville. Voters have also voted overwhelming for the NDP in these polls during four consecutive federal elections. 

The question is not so much where Micheal will run, but if she will run. She has contributed a great deal to this community over her life-time and in particular since she replaced Jack Harris as MHA in the Fall of 2006. 

However time waits for no one and according to Wikipedia, she was born in 1963, which would make her 72 -years young. She still has the vitality and stamina of a 50-year old but at some point we all have to look at our successes and reflect on the strain of public life.

At this point ,she says she is in and therefore can count on great deal of momentum  going into an election.

Her successor as NDP Leader, Earle  McCurdy has not indicated where he might run. Rumours have him pegged in three seats: Pippy Park where he would take on Liberal Dale Kirby (who was elected as a New Democrat in the last provincial election); The Placentia West - Bellevue seat in which the NDP have placed a strong second in the past two elections; or St. John's West for reasons unknown to me.

The recent surge in voter support for the NDP, both nationally and provincially  should make candidate recruitment much easier for the 2015 campaign, not that star candidates contributed much to the orange waves in Nova Scotia, Alberta or in Quebec.




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