Elec­tion hotspots

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Province - BY SALTWIRE NET­WORK

A look at sev­eral rid­ings that could prove in­ter­est­ing as vot­ers in Nova Sco­tia go to the polls to­day:

AN­NAPO­LIS

Home rid­ing of Lib­eral leader Stephen McNeil, he won it with 76 per cent of the votes in 2013. In fact, his sup­port has in­creased in ev­ery elec­tion since 1999 when he lost in his first out­ing to Frank Chip­man. While there is some spec­u­la­tion his sup­port may have eroded over the course of his first term as premier, it’s un­likely he’ll lose the seat.

QUEENS-SHELBURNE Nor­mally an NDP strong­hold, the rid­ing is now be­ing listed as too close to call af­ter sit­ting NDP MLA Ster­ling Bel­liveau de­cided he would not re­of­fer. This rid­ing is one of only two NDP rid­ings on the South Shore. Since Bel­liveau bowed out, there are four can­di­dates, but it is shap­ing up to be a bat­tle be­tween PC can­di­date Kim Masland and Lib­eral can­di­date Ver­non Oickle. The new NDP can­di­date, John Davis, doesn’t seem to be res­onat­ing in the district.

CUM­BER­LAND SOUTH Cum­ber­land South has been a solid Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive rid­ing dat­ing back to the 1998 pro­vin­cial elec­tion when for­mer Springhill po­lice of­fi­cer Mur­ray Scott cap­tured the rid­ing.

Fol­low­ing the 2009 elec­tion, Scott — who won the rid­ing with the largest per­cent­age in the prov­ince — re­signed his seat so new PC leader Jamie Bail­lie could run.

Bail­lie won the seat in 2010 over Lib­eral Kenny John Jack­son and re­peated the feat in 2013 — win­ning by more than 1,200 votes. This is the third elec­tion the two have squared off.

KINGS SOUTH Typ­i­cally a bell­wether rid­ing, Kings South will be one to watch. In 2013, Lib­eral Keith Irv­ing was elected over NDP ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Ra­mona Jen­nex.

Irv­ing, a Lib­eral back­bencher, is run­ning again in 2017 against a slate of new chal­lengers. The rid­ing has been held by all par­ties in the past three elec­tions, and prior to that, was held by the Con­ser­va­tives for 10 years.

VIC­TO­RIA-THE LAKES

In 2013, it was a sur­prise to many that Lib­eral can­di­date Pam Eyk­ing up­set in­cum­bent PC Keith Bain by 303 votes. The rid­ing, which is known to flip back-and-forth be­tween the PCs and the Lib­er­als, had been solidly Tory since 2006. Eyk­ing, who is the wife of Syd­ney-Vic­to­ria Lib­eral MP Mark Eyk­ing, has been crit­i­cized for not re­spond­ing to com­mu­nity con­cerns by some peo­ple. Bain, a lo­cal en­tre­pre­neur and vol­un­teer, is well-known and liked in the com­mu­nity and as a two-term MLA will be a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent in this re­match.

CUM­BER­LAND NORTH There’s a good pos­si­bil­ity this rid­ing could go back to the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives af­ter be­ing held by both the NDP and the Lib­er­als.

The rid­ing is made up of the old rid­ing of Cum­ber­land East that was held by for­mer premier Roger Ba­con for more than 20 years. It was held by Lib­eral Ross Bragg dur­ing the John Sav­age gov­ern­ment of 1993, but re­claimed by the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives in a 1997 by­elec­tion in which Ernest Fage was elected. Fage’s ex­pul­sion and de­ci­sion to re­of­fer as an In­de­pen­dent in 2009 left the party split and New Demo­crat Brian Sk­abar did the un­think­able and won the seat for the Dar­rell Dex­ter gov­ern­ment.

In 2013, Terry Far­rell be­came its first Lib­eral MLA in 20 years.

The Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives have a strong can­di­date in Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, a reg­is­tered nurse and suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman.

YAR­MOUTH Yar­mouth is con­sid­ered the re­gional hub of south­west­ern Nova Sco­tia. It is also a rid­ing that has seen a lot of de­bate played out on so­cial me­dia about vot­ers choices. Peo­ple who have been pleased with the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Lib­eral MLA Zach Churchill but are dis­pleased with Premier Stephen McNeil — over is­sues such as health care and the im­posed con­tract on teach­ers — must rec­on­cile how to mark their bal­lot.

Vot­ers have four can­di­dates to choose be­tween Churchill for the Lib­er­als, PC Mitch Bon­nar, NDP David Olie and Green Party Jim Laverie.

With a few elec­tion ex­cep­tions, the Yar­mouth rid­ing typ­i­cally tends to end up on the gov­ern­ment side.

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