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Vote Manitoba

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12 Constituencies At Play Where Hugh McFadyen needs to win--these ridings will likely determine who'll be premier after Oct. 4.

Winnipeg:

St. Norbert

An NDP-held riding for eight years, internal problems on the nomination of a new NDP candidate--incumbent Marilyn Brick isn't running--gave the advantage to PC candidate Karen Velthuys and Liberal candidate Marcel Laurendeau, the former PC MLA. After a delay the NDP nominated Dave Gaudreau.

Factors: Riding boundary changes favour the Tories as St. Norbert takes in more of Fort Whyte.

Seine River

A south Winnipeg riding critical to the PCs if they want to form the next government. High profile city councillor Gord Steeves is running for them in the hope he can steal it from NDP incumbent and Health Minister Theresa Oswald.

Factors: NDP support in the riding has slipped slightly because of health care, Bipole III and the economy, public safety and a feeling it's time for a change in government.

Southdale

The PCs believe NDP support has slipped in this south Winnipeg riding, giving the edge to PC candidate Judy Eastman. Voters here have also gone Tory before.

Factors: Steeves popularity as councillor could carry over to boost Tory chances. Health care, education, economy and crime are on voters' minds.

Fort Richmond

Another new riding but in NDP-held territory. Incumbent is Kerri Irvin-Ross. She's enjoyed a high profile as Housing Minister, but is it enough if voters buy in to PC mantra of time for a change? Their candidate is Shaun McCaffrey.

Factors: The wind of change, crime, health care and education.

Riel

A south Winnipeg riding that's voted NDP since 1999. Tories are pinning their hopes on newcomer Rochelle Squires.

Factors: Squires and McFadyen have to persuade voters NDP incumbent and Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick should be booted out of office. Easier said than done. Flood, environment and economy are other factors.

Fort Garry-Riverview

A new constituency and a new NDP candidate in James Allum. Tory candidate Ian Rabb has been campaigning hard.

Factors: Unfamiliarity with Allum and voter dissatisfaction with the NDP on issues like crime, government debt and Bipole III.

River Heights

For PCs to form government they need this seat. Badly. Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard is the incumbent. Voters here have also gone Tory before.

Factors: PC candidate Marty Morantz needs to convince residents it's time for a change in government. Economy, healthcare, and crime also remain high. Plus, the drubbing former Liberal MLA Anita Neville took in federal election could hurt Gerrard's re-election.

Kirkfield Park

The PCs think they have a shot here with candidate Kelly de Groot as NDP support in the riding has been slipping.

Factors: Former premier Gary Doer's departure, unfamiliarity with Premier Greg Selinger; the economy, health care, Bipole III, crime, government debt and wind of change.

Assiniboina

The Tories have put their fortunes here on former Olympic speed-skater Susan Auch. The hope is a big name that will woo voters who are tired of the NDP. Despite appearances, NDP incumbent and Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau is a brawler. He won't lose easily.

Factors: Health care, economy, crime and wind of change.

Transcona

The riding is now more white collar than blue, giving possible advantage to PC candidate Craig Stapon.

Factors: City councillor Russ Wyatt. Who he endorses could have big impact. In the federal election, Wyatt's support helped Conservative Lawrence Toet win, sending NDP incumbent Jim Maloway into a new line of work.

Outside Winnipeg

Interlake

An NDP riding since 1981, but it could fall to Tories simply because of the New Democrats' handling of the 2011 flood.

Factors: NDP incumbent Tom Nevakshonoff made a boneheaded comment to flood victims in June that their situation "could be worse," suggesting at least they weren't facing tsunamis and earthquakes like other parts of the world.

Dawson Trail

A new riding southeast of the city. NDP incumbent and Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux is the candidate, but he now has to campaign more in a rural area that's voted Tory in the past.

Factors: New boundaries and an electorate who would never vote NDP. Ever.

Ridings that are iffy

Swan River

NDP incumbent and Finance Minister Rosann Wowcuk isn't running, so the Tories think they have an outside shot.

Dauphin

NDP incumbent and Agriculture and former Conservation Minister Stan Struthers isn't Mr. Popular with the farm crowd, so Tories think they have an outside chance.

Gimli

It's swung both ways PC and NDP since the late 50s. The NDP is worried incumbent Entrepreneurship and Training Minister Peter Bjornson is vulnerable because of environmental issues on Lake Winnipeg and changing demographics.

St. James

It's been a solid NDP seat in past two elections, but a new NDP candidate and strong campaigns by PCs and Liberals make it a toss up.

Ridings that are slam-dunk NDP

All of The North:

Flin Flon, Thompson, Kewatinook and The Pas.

All of The Hood:

Minto, Logan, Point Douglas, Elmwood and St. John's

Ridings that are slam-dunk PC

The Farm Belt:

Agassiz, Arthur-Virden, Riding Mountain, Spruce Woods, Portage La Prairie, Morris and Emerson

The Bible Belt:

Midland, Morden-Winkler, Steinbach

Ridings where the Liberals have good shot, but not slam-dunk

Tyndall Park

It's a new riding that's polled Liberal in the past. Liberal candidate Roldan Sevillano Jr has been campaigning for months with MP Kevin Lamoureux's help. Both Tories and NDP were late picking candidates.

Maples

Ditto.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 3, 2011 J2

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