According to the polls, the NDP has little chance to make a breakthrough in Alberta’s provincial election. In fact, there are only a handful of seats where the party is competitive (and they are all in Edmonton). For New Democrats, these are the ridings to watch:
EDMONTON-BEVERLY-CLAREVIEW Currently represented by NDP MLA (and former Alberta NDP leader) Ray Martin. The New Democrats took this seat from the Tories in 2004 by a comfortable margin. Expect the NDP to retain this seat.
EDMONTON-HIGHLANDS-NORWOOD NDP leader Brian Mason has represented this riding since winning a 2000 by-election to replace former Alberta NDP leader Pam Barrett. Mason should be easily re-elected by a wide margin.
EDMONTON-CALDER Rookie NDP MLA David Eggen is the incumbent in this riding. He wrestled the seat away from the Tories in 2004 . Eggen won the riding by fewer than 500 votes last time around, but expect him to easily win re-election as an incumbent.
EDMONTON-STRATHCONA Former NDP leader and current NDP MLA Raj Pannu has decided not to seek re-lection in this NDP stronghold. In his place, The NDP is running labour lawyer Rachel Notley, daughter of former NDP leader Grant Notley. Expect the party to dump major resources into keeping this seat.
EDMONTON-GLENORA The NDP finished a close 2nd place to the Liberals in this low-income riding in 2004. In 2008, the party is running Arlene Chapman as its candidate. She is well-known within the party and within the community having served as an NDP staffer and as executive director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council. She ran in the 2006 federal election, garnering just under 20% of the vote in Edmonton East. This riding represents the party’s best chance for a new seat in 2008, especially if the Liberal vote collapses.
EDMONTON-ELLERSLIE This is a true long-shot for the NDP, but in the event that the Liberal and Tory campaigns takes a nosedive, this riding could fall into the party’s lap. This was one of very few ridings where the NDP won over 20% of the vote in 2004. Retired university professor Marilyn Assheton-Smith is once again carrying the NDP banner.
For consistent coverage of the Alberta election, be sure to consult the Calgary Grit and Daveberta on a regular basis.