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Battleground BC

Two Surrey Ridings Solidify Liberal and NDP

The Tyee is moving Surrey-Tynehead into the ‘solid Liberal’ column while Surrey-Green Timbers goes ‘solid NDP’.

By Will McMartin, 23 Apr 2005, TheTyee.ca

SURREY-TYNEHEAD was won in 2001 by Liberal Dave Hayer, who captured 61.0% of the popular vote. He finished more than 9,000 votes ahead of his New Democratic Party opponent, Barry Bell, who had a bare 15.7% of the vote and now is seeking a re-match.

The riding was created through redistribution prior to the last general election, and so has little electoral history. But as was shown in Battleground BC's last analysis (April 23), the average household income in Surrey-Tynehead is $71,675, second-highest in the North-Central Surrey region, and seventh-highest amongst ridings across the Lower Mainland. Hayer's margin of victory will be closer in this election than it was five years ago, but he should prevail handily on May 17. New Democrat Bell followed his 2001 provincial defeat with a loss in the 2004 federal election, where he finished third in Fleetwood-Port Kells behind Conservative victor Nina Grewal and former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, Gulzar Cheema.

SURREY-GREEN TIMBERS elected Sue Hammell, a New Democrat, as its MLA in 1991 (with 46.2% of the vote) and re-elected her in 1996 (with 50.1%). She served for a time as minister of women's equality, but suffered defeat in 2001, albeit by fewer than 2,000 votes.

Her vote share in the last contest, 36.1%, was nearly 15 percentage points ahead of her party's province-wide average. In the current general election, with the NDP now polling in the high-30s, low-40s, Hammell ought to be able to capture half of the vote or more in her old electoral district.

Brenda Locke, the current Liberal MLA, garnered 49.0% of the vote when she upset Hammell in 2001, which was eight percentage points behind the Liberals' province-wide average. Last year she was named minister of state for mental health and addition services.

Locke likely will again garner more than two of every five votes on May 17, but riding demographics - especially the district's relatively low household income ($21,000 less than in Tynehead) - make this a solid NDP gain.

Check in daily for Battleground BC, Will McMartin's voting predictions and analysis, exclusive to The Tyee. You can reach him with tips, insights and info at will@thetyee.ca  [Tyee]