|Location of Carbonear-Harbour Grace within Newfoundland|
With all the excitement of federal by-elections last night, one provincial by-election in Newfoundland has been overlooked by political pundits and media alike. Voters in the Avalon peninsula riding of Carbonear-Harbour Grace in Newfoundland and Labrador are heading to the polls today to elect a new member of the House of Assembly.
Carbonear-Harbour Grace is located on the western shore of Conception Bay, about 100km around the bay from St. John's. The main communities are obviously Carbonear and Harbour Grace, but the riding also contains the municipalities of Bryant's Cove and Victoria. The riding was vacated on Oct 2 when the Tory MHA and Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy resigned.
Politically, the province has been undergoing a bit of a transformation since the last provincial election in 2011. The governing Progressive Conservatives are now widely unpopular, and the Liberals- perhaps buoyed by federal leader Justin Trudeau are now on top of the polls, despite finishing third in the popular vote in the last election. The NDP had been gaining in popularity since the election, but party infighting in the last few weeks has left the party in shambles.
Kennedy was very popular in the riding, he won the seat in 2007 and 2011 with three quarters of the vote (although, this could've been more to do with the popularity of Premier Danny Williams and his legacy). Kennedy won the riding for the first time in 2007. Before then it had been a Liberal district for much of its history. The NDP has never been competitive in this seat, often not even running candidates.
Carbonear-Bay de Verde (1949-1962); Carbonear (1962-1995)
Herbert Pottle, Liberal (1949-1956)
Geo. Clarke, Liberal (1956-1971)
Augustus Rowe, Prog. Cons. (1971-1975)
R. Moores, Liberal Reform (1975-1982)
Milton Peach, Prog. Cons. (1982-1989)
A. Reid, Liberal (1989-1995)
Harbour Grace (1949-1996)
Jas. Chalker, Liberal (1949-1956)
Claude Sheppard, Liberal (1956-1966)
A. Moores, Liberal (1966-1971)
Hubert Kitchen, Liberal (1971-1972)
Haig Young, Prog. Cons. (1972-1989)
Jn. Crane, Liberal (1989-1995)
Carbonear-Harbour Grace (1996-present)
A. Reid, Liberal (1996-1998)
Geo. Sweeney, Liberal (1998-2007)
Jerome Kennedy, Prog. Cons. (2007-2013)
|2011 results by polling division|
In 2011, Kennedy won with 76% of the vote. His victory allowed him to win every poll in the riding, with every polling division giving him at least 60% of the vote. Kennedy's worst poll in 2011 came from #19, which is located on the north side of Carbonear Harbour. That poll gave him just over 60%. You don't have to go very far to find his best poll, which was also in Carbonear.(in the south end of the town). This was poll #10 gave him 89% of the vote.
Federally, the the Carbonear-Harbour Grace area is in the Liberal-held riding of Avalon. In the last federal election, both the Liberals and Tories did well in the region. For the most part, the Liberals did better in Carbonear, while Harbour Grace was more of a mix.
Based on the riding history, and the fact that the Liberals are polling well in Newfoundland, it looks like the Liberals will probably win the by-election- at least in my opinion. The fact that Kennedy received over three quarters of the vote in 2011 is not an indication of this riding being a conservative riding. Plus the Liberals are running the most high profile candidate in Carbonear mayor Sam Slade. His Tory opponent is Carbonear native Jack Harrington, Kennedy's Executive Assistant. The NDP candidate is Freshwater resident Charlene Sudbrink, who is a potter and singer who works for the Newfoundland Liquor Corp.
Polls close at 8pm Newfoundland time (6:30 Eastern).