As Election Day strikes in Nova Scotia today party sources say about a half dozen of the 18 ridings in the Halifax Regional Municipality are tightly contested and could change hands.
Yesterday the Liberals brought out the big guns in hockey legend-MP Ken Dryden to campaign with Diana Whalen in Clayton Park. Whalen beat NDP candidate Linda Power by less than 400 votes last election and desperately wants to hold onto that seat. Power is again running for the NDP.
Bedford-Birch Cove is perhaps the toughest dogfight. Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Len Goucher is trying to hold on against Liberal Kelly Regan, wife of federal MP Geoff Regan.
Both parties have invested huge amounts of resources into winning the riding.
The Liberals are hoping to steal at least one current NDP seat between Dartmouth North and Dartmouth East, party sources said yesterday. To do the job they’ve dispatched two city councillors — Jim Smith in Dartmouth North and Andrew Younger in Dartmouth East. Given the strong tide of NDP support it will be tough to unseat either incumbent. But of the two, Younger likely has the best shot.
If the Liberals can steal one Dartmouth seat, take down Goucher in Bedford and hold on everywhere else in HRM, Liberal sources say, they would be happy.
Meanwhile, the NDP are looking to take down two cabinet ministers — Barry Barnet in Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville and Bill Dooks in Eastern Shore.
One campaign member said they’ve also got a couple Liberal seats within reach between Whalen in Clayton Park and perhaps Keith Colwell in Preston.
For the Tories, there is some hope that Progressive Conservative candidate Ted Larsen can take down the NDP’s Leonard Preyra in Halifax Atlantic. But Preyra managed to beat a very formidable opponent in 2006 in Bill Black, so NDP support in the area may be too strong to overcome.