March 13: #skvotes ridings to watch

Pollmaster (is that a word? It is now) Eric Grenier’s amazing site,, will be projecting the 2016 Saskatchewan election results throughout the writ period. Eric’s projections were stunningly close for the 2015 federal election, and overall have been extremely accurate since he started doing this five years ago.

You can find his latest provincial projection on the CBC Poll Tracker here, but for the sake of expediency I’m going to share it here too. (I think that’s allowed, but if it’s not, CBC Saskatchewan knows where to find me.)


These results, if I’m understanding the methodology right (you may want to check this out yourself) are accurate to the date of the last available poll, and also factor-in 2011 results.

So, no real surprises there. Will the NDP take 19 seats? Not likely, not unless something drastic changes in their central campaign.

That doesn’t make the riding by riding projects less interesting, though.

Ridings to watch, based on my own observations and Grenier’s latest seat projections for Saskatchewan, as of March 10, 2016:

Regina Coronation Park  | SaskParty – Mark Docherty | NDP – Ted Jaleta

Mark Docherty has been an important voice for the Sask Party, serving almost two years as Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission. He won the seat in 2011, pinching the seat from the NDP, who’s former MLA Kim Trew held it for twenty years. Trew retired in 2011, and Docherty managed to squeak out a win with 54 per cent over newbie Sask NDP candidate Jaime Garcia’s 44 per cent. This year Ted Jaleta is challenging Docherty on behalf of the NDP, and he’s a formidable candidate. A well-liked and well-known Regina resident, Jaleta will appeal not only to NDP supporters, but to the broad centre-left-centre that abandoned the NDP in 2011, when Dwain Lingenfelter likely hurt Garcia more than anything.

Today’s prediction for the win: Jaleta

Regina Douglas Park | Sask Party – CJ Katz | Sask NDP – Nicole Sarauer | Green Party – Victor Lau

Lau must be SUCH a pain in Nicole Sarauer’s ass right now. Katz is replacing the retired incumbent Russ Marchuk, who knocked out Dwain Lingenfelter in 2011 with 52 per cent to Dwain’s 41. The riding was a NDP stronghold from 1986 to 2011, but Grenier has given it a 50/50 chance to go either way. Victor Lau, whose Green Party enjoys a wee little pocket of 10ish per cent support across a few ridings in Regina, is projected at taking 11.6% of a vote that would otherwise be Sarauer’s and which would put her well over the line. Katz is somewhat well known, but so is Sarauer. Both women are fighting like champs, and frankly, both are worthy of the seat.

Today’s prediction for the win: too close to call.If I’m CJ Katz, I’m campaigning for Lau.

Regina Walsh Acres would have been analyzed in this spot, but the Sask NDP no longer has a candidate for this riding. That one must have really stung, because based on the colorful but centre-left history of the riding, they had a chance. Not a Coronation or Douglas Park chance, but a chance.

Today’s prediction for the win: congratulations Warren Steinley.

Saskatoon Meewasin | Sask Party – Roger Parent | NDP – Nicole White

Roger who? Exactly. In 2011, Parent made Frank Quennel a casualty of the anti-Lingenfelter protest vote, beating him handily with 54 per cent to Quennel’s 41. However, since then Parent hasn’t exactly knocked the socks off of his constituents, or his portfolio. That said, despite the fact the riding was represented by the NDP for 20 years prior to Quennel’s upset, Nicole White’s social agenda is going to hurt her soft centre vote.

Today’s prediction for the win: Roger Parent

Saskatoon Fairview | Sask Party – Jen Campeau | NDP – Vicki Mowat

Fairview was another 2011 jaw-dropper, with the rookie, but awesome, Campeau winning 51 percent over Andy Iwanchuk’s 46 percent, or a difference of 247 votes. With a comparatively low turnout, compared to other Saskatoon ridings, I suspect the anti-Lingenfelter NDP vote stayed home, which might not bode well for Campeau. Vicki Mowat is campaigning like a champ – she’s been door-knocking for two years and has allegedly made some solid gains, and has the resources from Sheri Benson’s federal NDP campaign behind her. That said, the Sask Party would be crazy not to fully resource Campeau – she’s an asset for any number of reasons, to the constituency, to their Party, and to the government.

Today’s prediction for the win: Vicki Mowat – but only if the Sask Party abandons Campeau during this campaign.

Saskatoon University | Sask Party – Eric Olauson | NDP – Jennifer Bowes | Liberal – Ezaz Jaseem | PC – Rose Buscholl

This is an interesting one. Eric Olauson has some name recognition thanks to his time on Saskatoon City Council, and at one time this riding looked like it was in the bag for him. But, recent polling numbers show his support in that riding is shaky. I can tell you from my own experience that there are a lot of left and centre-left voters in this area, which Olauson decidedly is neither. Jennifer Bowes is an unknown, as are the other two – however, those two could be significant. Olauson, who doesn’t do himself any favors with stories like this, is at risk of seeing votes leeched to either side of his position – to the Liberal or PC candidate. Even if they only take 5 percent each, which is very doable, that ten percent could equal the difference between and win and a loss for Olauson.

Today’s prediction for the win: Bowes, thanks to a rare (in Saskatchewan) centre-right vote split.

Moose Jaw Wakamow | Sask Party – Greg Lawrence | NDP – Karen Purdy

Like Saskatoon-Fairview, it was another 200ish votes that put Greg Lawrence over the line in 2011, bumping Deb Higgins from a seat that had been held by the NDP for twenty-five years. Higgins went on to become mayor of Moose Jaw, and now Lawrence is being challenged by Karen Purdy, a nurse, church music director and SEIU rep. Even with the NDP central campaign in tatters, she’s the type of candidate who will stand on her own, though I imagine Higgins has thrown some help her way.

Today’s prediction for the win: Karen Purdy.

Prince Albert Carleton | Sask Party – Joseph Hargrove | NDP – Shayne Lazarowich

Darryl Hickie took over this riding in 2007, and won handily in 2011. However, he resigned the seat in March of 2015 to go back to being a Prince Albert cop, and it’s been vacant since. Hargrove seems like a solid, patented Sask Party candidate, but that might be the problem. With the issues with their bridge and their hospital, the City of Prince Albert isn’t pleased with the Sask Party. Lazarowich is a well-rounded candidate who has experience building relationships with First Nation’s and Metis’ groups in PA, which is crucial to that seat.

Today’s prediction for the win: Shayne Lazarowich.

Prince Albert Northcote | Sask Party – Victoria Jurgens | NDP – Nicole Rancourt

Yet another riding were 200 votes took the Sask Party over the edge. Jurgens took the 25-year NDP stronghold away 2011, and she’s going to give it back in 2016. No question. Jurgen’s four year term performance was weak, Rancourt’s bio is really strong, and the latter is polling through the roof.

Today’s prediction for the win: Nicole Rancourt.

So my mind is a little numb after writing this, but I think that puts my seat projections at:

Sask Party 46 | NDP 14 | Too close to call – 1

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