Thursday, August 03, 2006

Taylor to run for Tories and other news

More big coverage in the papers today with the big news being that former CoR MLA Brent Taylor is running for the Tories in his old riding of Southwest Miramichi. This should cause a bit of concern for Rick Brewer who was likely a shoe-in for re-election but will now have a tougher fight than he did in 2003. His profile as head of the Liberal task force on gas prices may help him.

The election seems all but a foregone conclusion. Apparently Peter Mesheau is on vacation until August 16 so there will be no comment from him on his future until that time.

NDP leader Allison Brewer says she expects strong showings in Fredericton, Saint John and northern New Brunswick. After their dismal showing in the north the last go around this may be wishful thinking but if she can get a strong push from Yvon Godin in the northeast and convince Rodolphe Martin to run in the new riding of Restigouche-la-Vallée (where there will be a battle royal between incumbents Percy Mockler and Burt Paulin and a good chance to sneak up the middle) she could be right. Particularly, looking at the results in 1999, the NDP nearly won a handful of northern seats. If Brewer can capture her seat of Fredericton-Lincoln, there may also be a shot in Fredericton-Silverwood (where the NDP got over 20% last time). I really think Saint John looks bleak for the NDP this go around but, depending on candidates, they might have a shot in Tantramar. It will be very interesting to see what happens, if they are shut out I think this could be the end of the NDP, but if they were to get the breakthrough they've been counting on for decades, we would see politics dramatically changed in New Brunswick for a long, long time.

The Telegraph-Journal reports that the Liberals have $450k, the Tories $325k and the NDP is running a deficit of just over $6,000. It is very interesting to see the cash breakdown. The Tories had way more cash on hand and a bigger and longer sustained lead in the polls in 2003 and barely held on. I think this is a good omen for the Liberals.

It looks to me now that there will almost certainly be an election. Look for Mesheau to resign on August 16 and for the writ to be dropped the same day or within a few days.

Other tidbits from today's coverage:

  • Lord has handed out $16.2 million since July 24, not bad considering his budget only had a $22.2 million forecast surplus. We had better hope that the economy stays steady and that he doesn't spend any money during the election (yeah right)

  • A mini riding profile in the Telegraph-Journal focuses on Tory Brent Taylor in Southwest Miramichi, Liberal Mary Schryer in Quispamsis and New Democrat Virgil Hammock in Tantramar. None of these are incumbents and all are candidates to watch.

  • Brewer has picked up on my point that losing control of your majority is not an excuse for an early election but doesn't seem to be pressing it hard.


Cooker Boy said...

Prediction: The NDP will be wiped off the map in NB if there is an election this year.

nbpolitico said...

I would tend to agree that that is likely. They have only even won 1 seat at a general election and currently have none.

That said, I think if Rodolphe Martin were to run in Restigouche-la-Vallée he would be the favourite as it would be a race where 35% of the vote would make for an easy win.

Moreover, if Gilles Halley were to run in Nepisiguit he would almost certainly win. He got 28% in 1999 when the Tories were enjoying a huge surge from people angry with the government. With the taint that Frank Branch has taken and the Tories in power (and possibly on their way out) I think Halley would take it in a cakewalk if he ran.

But, you are right, besides some local circumstances, the provincial picture looks pretty bad for the NDP. The people liked Weir and she is gone, they don't know Brewer but her views are a bit extreme especially considering that much of New Brunswick is socially conservative.

Cooker Boy said...

I have always been shoocked at how badly the NDP does in this province despite sharing common values with regions like Northern NB where issues like health care and EI are huge.

I would expect some surprises from all sides in this election.

nbpolitico said...

The challenge the NDP has always faced and continues to face is that its natural base of support is in rural, poor, Francophone parts of the province but they always choose urban, rich Anglophone leaders.

You are right. Should be lots of surprises: like 1999 and 2003 this is sure to be a volatile campaign.

Spinks said...

The challenge the NDP has is that they are irrelevant to the vast majority of New Brunswickers. I would agree with cooker boy but in reality the NDP are already wiped off the map since they have no seats and no prospects of one. They'll be lucky to come in second in any ridings let along first.

Nice job broadening the discussion nbpolitico. Not too partisan so far so good job. Cheers.

nbpolitico said...

Spinks - thanks for the compliment. Though I am Liberal I didn't start this blog as a political soapbox but as a means to get some New Brunswick coverage which is often hard to find.

I am trying to be as non-partisan as I can but sometimes when it comes to Lord I have a hard time.