Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Danforth and Bob

The consensus in the blogosphere is that Bob Rae should make a run at Jack "in-the-box" Layton in my home riding of Toronto-Danforth in the next election. There is an expectation that he could win or at least force Jack to spend more time at home. I have some doubts about Rae's electability that have nothing to do with his tenure as premier. Let's review the results that have come in from Toronto-Danforth in the last year:

Federal (2006 General Election):

Jack Layton (NDP) 48.4%
Deborah Coyne (Lib) 34.2

Provincial (March by-election):

Peter Tabuns (NDP) 47.8%
Ben Chin (Liberal star candidate) 38.9%

Municipal Election:

Ward 29 (Northern, more right wing half):

Case Ootes (centre right former mayor of East York and long time incumbent) 46.3% (5790)
Diane Alexopoulos (NDP) 46.1% (5770)

Ward 30 (Southern, more NDP half)

Paula Fletcher (NDP) 60.2%
Suzanne McCormick 26.3%

Here's the thing, the NDP came within 20 votes of controlling every major electoral position in the riding. In case your wondering, Liberal Gordon Crann lost the election for school trustee, I just don't know whether or not the successful candidate is NDP. Layton's victory alone wouldn't have me skeptical about Rae's odds. The provincial and municipal results have me very skeptical. Unlike a lot of city councilors, Case Ootes didn't deserve to lose his job. He's done a good job. Now a close race might be explained by a very popular NDP mayor (Miller polled at about 60% in the ward) at the top of the ticket, but twenty votes? That's unheard of for a sitting councilor in Toronto who isn't mired in corruption. If anyone watched the results on City, you'd have seen that they called the race for Ootes with like one poll in. They didn't expect it to be close. However, for much of the night, their little check (meaning elected) was beside a name in second place. He pulled it out, but the NDP organization gave him a big scare.

The provincial results tell an even more ominous tale for Rae. Dalton McGuinty found a man he likes and the general populous likes. Ben Chin was a dream candidate. It was a by-election so by default there wasn't an incumbent. Chin ran hard. He lost. He lost pretty badly to the guy who used to ride Jack Layton's coattails into city council. Tabuns had things going for him. He used to be the councilor. It was a by-election which are usually bad news for the government. However, that doesn't explain the kind of margin he got on election day. I exepected Chin to be within 5 points, he wasn't.

With a strong enough Liberal tide Rae could win Toronto-Danforth, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'll work hard for him if he's the candidate on the Danforth but if we want to ensure that he's in parliament, he should run elsewhere. Plus, I think Deborah Coyne earned a run in better circumstances after having to bear the cross of the sponsorship scandal like so many Liberals last time around. I'd love to tell to Jack to hit the road, but I don't know if its in the cards for Bob Rae. I've been saying for a while that I'd like to see Kennedy move out west and run there. That would allow Rae to run in Parkdale-High Park and send Peggy Nash packing. Finally, Jack Layton has proved that no matter how close the race he isn't about to spend time going door to door. He was barely there in 2004 when he won by about 2000 votes and he was there even less in 2006. To be frank, he spends very little time in the riding, period. After all, he lives in Trinity-Spadina. The only NDP leader who has a residence on the Danforth is Howard Hampton.


Yappa said...

I don't think it's good politics to target another party's leader in this way. I doubt Bob Rae would feel it was the right thing to do.

On a purely pragmatic note, it will look mean-spirited and could cause swing voters to vote NDP instead of Liberal - across the country as well as in the Danforth.

Kyle G. Olsen said...

Chow's riding is ripe for the taking however...

UWHabs said...

I'd put Bob in against Chow. I think he would have a great shot at that one. Gerard wouldn't want to be parachuted out west, since I think for now he just needs his seat. Nothing out west is safe enough, and I don't think it would make enough sense. Give him his old one in Parkdale to win easily.

whichwaysthegym said...

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