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This article was published 19/4/2016 (401 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The NDP's electoral footprint in rural Manitoba has been reduced to a tiny beachhead.
Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives are poised to capture 23 of 26 seats outside of Winnipeg, obliterating the New Democratic Party in southern Manitoba and claiming orange strongholds in the north.
The Progressive Conservative sweep of southern Manitoba saw the party win three ridings it had never taken before. In Brandon East, which the NDP has held since its inception, Tory Len Isleifson defeated NDP cabinet minister Drew Caldwell. In Interlake, Derek Johnson tossed out NDP Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff.
And in Selkirk, held by the NDP since 1990, NDP finance minister Greg Dewar lost his seat to veterinarian Alan Lagimodiere.
The Tories also reclaimed Dawson Trail from the NDP, picked up Swan River and claimed Gimli, a riding where the voters have selected the governing party in 16 out of the past 17 elections.
The NDP is leading or elected in only two seats outside of Winnipeg, both in northern Manitoba: The Pas, where incumbent Amanda Lathlin held off a challenge; and in Flin Flon, where rookie Tom Lindsey is clinging to a small respective lead.
In major election upsets, PC Kelly Bindle knocked off incumbent Thompson MLA Steve Ashton, first elected in 1981 -- and twice a contender for the NDP leadership –- while in Keewatinook, Deputy Premier Eric Robinson lost to Liberal Judy Klassen. Robinson was first elected in 1993.
While the PC sweep of southern Manitoba was expected, the Tory and Liberal inroads into the north represent a stunning change of fortune for the NDP.