9 Manitoba ridings to watch on election night

Ten ridings to watch for on the Manitoba election night. Global News

WINNIPEG — When Manitoba voters watch Tuesday’s election results, they’ll be looking at one big race – who will be premier of the province – and 57 smaller races.

Keeping track of all the ridings can be daunting, especially when many constituencies are expected to switch seats.

Global News talked with political analyst Christopher Adams about which ridings watch for for on April 19.

Here are nine of them.

AssiniboiaThis riding was held by the Tories until NDP’s Jim Rondeau was elected in 1999, who won by just three votes. Since then, Rondeau has built up his margin of victory in each election. However, the seat is up for grabs this year at Rondeau is not seeking re-election, and there is a strong Progressive Conservative candidate in the running – former Member of Parliament Steven Fletcher. Adams said because of Fletcher’s strong name recognition, this is a riding that could turn blue.

Brandon East: Since 1969 this riding has been safe for the NDP. However, for the first time in nearly 50 years the party is at risk of losing the constituency to the Tories, said Adams. NDP’s Drew Caldwell is seeking re-election, but a December 2015 poll showed his support dropping, with only 18 per cent of those asked saying they would vote for Caldwell, who has been the riding’s MLA since 1999. Adams said Len J. IsLeifson, the former city councillor, is a strong PC candidate here, meaning the riding could turn blue on April 19.

BurrowsIncumbent NDP Melanie Wight is defending her seat from four rookie politicians, includingCindy Lamoureux, the daughter of former MLA Kevin Lamoureux. Adams said Lamoureux’s name recognition means the historically orange riding could turn red on election night.

DauphinThis riding has been a stronghold for the NDP, but veteran MLA Stan Struthers’ retirement means the area is very vulnerable, said Adams. Struthers was part of the ‘Rebel Five’ who started a revolt against the party leadership in 2014, and resigned from his cabinet position. 

Fort Rouge: This riding is going to be one of the biggest ridings to watch for, according to Adams. With the departure of Jennifer Howard, who was part of the rebel five, there are strong candidates facing off. The NDP have star candidate Wab Kinew seeking election, but he came under fire this campaign for controversial lyrics he wrote years ago. The leader of the Liberal Party, Rana Bokhari is running, while the PC’s also have a well-known candidate, Audrey Gordan. Adams said this riding seems to be a three way race.

Kirkfield ParkPrior to the 2007 election, this riding was held exclusively by the Tories since its creation in 1981. However, in 2007 NDP MLA Sharon Blady won by over 1,000 votes more than the PC candidate. She repeated the victory in 2011—but by just 21 votes, the smallest margin in the province. In this election she faces off against a PC star candidate, Scott Fielding, who held a city council seat in roughly the same area.

River Heights: The constituency has been Liberal since 1999, when former Liberal leader Jon Gerrard took the seat. Although Gerrard is seeking re-election, there is a threat from PC candidate, Tracey Maconachie, who is the current president of the Life Sciences Association of Manitoba. In the 2011 election Gerrard took the win with 45 per cent of the votes with PC candidate Marty Morantz hot on his heels with 32 per cent.

Selkirk: NDP incumbent Greg Dewer has held this riding since 1990, but this could change on April 19, said Adams. The riding is an area that demographically fits a Tories profile, and federally has elected PC MP James Bezan, said Adams. However the provincial PC candidate, David Horbas, was dumped in January 2016, after the Tories posted a statement citing that the party had concerns about his campaign involvement and level of performance. Alan Lagimodiere is now running.

Tyndall ParkThis riding has been held by the NDPs since its creation in 2008. However, this is another constituency that may go Liberal on election night, said Adams. The Liberal candidate, Aida Champagne  is well-known in the community and stands a chance of taking the seat away from NDP incumbent Ted Marcelino.

South half of Winnipeg: While not a specific riding, this is a large area to watch for come Tuesday evening. Adams said the entire south half of Winnipeg is vulnerable of switching from NDP to PC or Liberal. This includes areas such as St. Norbert, Fort Richmond, Southdale and Seine River.

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