Fred South is Closest Race in the Province

22 09 2014

8 ridings to watch in the New Brunswick election

Key riding battles could decide what party forms a majority government

By Daniel McHardie, CBC News Posted: Sep 22, 2014 5:29 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:29 AM ET

New Brunswickers are heading to the polls today and what could end up being a tight election may come down to what party wins a handful of key races.

Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward came into the election with a large majority government, but he faced a rocky path to re-election.

The Tories focused their election campaign on creating future jobs in the forestry and shale gas industries and tried to avoid talking about the province’s high unemployment rate in the last four years or some of the party’s broken campaign promises from 2010.

Also adding to the electoral intrigue, the province’s riding map was redrawn and the number of MLAs cut to 49 from 55. The redistribution process has forced several sitting MLAs to run against each other.

The following are eight ridings that could produce some of the most interesting results tonight.

1. Fredericton South

David Coon

Green Party Leader David Coon is running in Fredericton South and trying to win the party’s first ever seat in New Brunswick. (CBC)

​The downtown Fredericton riding could be the closest race in the province on election night.

Fredericton South has a four-way race emerging with Progressive Conservative Craig Leonard, Green Party Leader David Coon, NDP candidate Kelly Lamrock, Liberal Roy Wiggins. Independent Courtney Mills is also running in the riding.

Leonard has been a high-profile cabinet minister in the Alward government, but Leonard’s campaign has run up against pension reforms that have proved to be unpopular especially with retired civil servants.

But there has not been a central challenger that has emerged to take on Leonard.

The NDP’s Lamrock, the former Liberal education minister, was a high-profile candidate heading into the campaign.

But the Green Party’s Coon has also benefited from the heightened visibility that is afforded to party leaders during the campaign.

By contrast, Wiggins has run a low-profile campaign for the Liberals. However, he may benefit from the Liberal lead in the province-wide polls.

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