Victory for Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard would be four seats, which would give him official party status for the first time in years. Perhaps hoping for a last-minute surge like the one that catapulted the federal NDP into opposition in May, Grit party folk are feeling hopeful (and possibly delusional) about these four:
River Heights, where the good doctor is spending nearly every evening in his own riding fending off a real challenge by pleasingly cerebral lawyer Marty Morantz, who is running for the Tories. Morantz has been door-knocking for a year, a tactic that often pays off. Some have said the NDP is running a deliberately low-key campaign, but other friends in River Heights tell me young defence lawyer Dan Manning has been fairly visible.
Tyndall Park, where Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s machine is out in full force for candidate Roldan Sevillano. Lamoureux’s even given over his favourite mega-sign location at Selkirk and Keewatin. Sevillano is up against Ted Marcelino, brother-in-law of the culture Minister Flor Marcelino, a pedigree that doesn’t hurt in the Filipino community. There’s also Cris Aglugub, who switched sides to run for the Tories and got a late start. The smart money is on Lamoureux’s machine, as it always should be.
Burrows, which has always been so solidly NDP we’ve never given it much thought. But outspoken Liberal Twyla Motkaluk had a boatload of signs up on Day One, and isn’t a newbie. She managed her sister’s city council campaign in the neighbourhood, and also learned the art of northwest Winnipeg retail politics from Lamoureux. Is it possible the NDP’s grassroots have taken the riding for granted and the Liberals could steal it?
Fort Rouge, where it would suck to be a lefty. You’d have to choose between Jennifer Howard, the very capable and progressive cabinet minister (who should be premier one day) and Paul Hesse, the equally smart and dedicated young Liberal lawyer (who should be party leader one day). Hesse lost to Howard by a hefty 1,300 votes last time, but he’s been highly visible and relentlessly door-knock-y ever since. The riding’s boundaries are significantly different this time, swapping the downtown for Earl Grey and Rockwood in a way that could help Hesse.
Is all this wishful Liberal thinking? You tell me, voters.