6 ridings to watch in Yukon election

With 19 ridings up for grabs in today's election, there are a few that stand out from the pack for one reason or another.

With 19 Yukon ridings up for grabs in Tuesday's territorial election, there are a few that stand out from the pack for one reason or another.



Watson Lake

Long the political stomping ground of former Yukon premier Dennis Fentie, this rural riding is one of the smallest, with only 764 voters.

Fentie first won the seat in 1996 for the NDP. In 2002 he crossed the floor to the Yukon Party, became its leader and went on to win the seat two more times before retiring.  There doesn't seem to be a natural heir apparent.

Retired mining recorder Patti McLeod is running for the Yukon Party. She's up against Liard First Nation Chief Liard McMillan, the NDP candidate, and Liberal Thomas Slager, a school teacher.  Independent Patricia Gilhooly has turned it into a four-way race.

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Dawson City politics is never dull, whether it's territorial or municipal.

The Yukon Party has held this seat since 1992 when placer miner David Millar upset NDP cabinet minister Art Webster.  Hotelier Peter Jenkins continued the party's success in 1996 and hung onto the seat until 2006.

He resigned and passed the Yukon Party buck to bed and breakfast owner Steve Nordick, who is now seeking a second term. School teacher and Liberal candidate Sandy Silver is considered to be a strong contender. NDP candidate Jorn Meier is back for a rematch after losing to Nordick in 2006. 

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Takhini-Kopper King

With all three candidates under the age of 35 and a high-profile neighbourhood issue – the protection of middle McIntyre Creek as a wilderness park in the city – this riding could produce some surprises. 

The NDP's Kate White cut her campaign teeth in 2006 in Porter Creek Centre. So did the Yukon Party's Samson Hartland except he ran as the NDP's candidate in Porter Creek South. Liberal candidate Cherish Clarke, 26, is new to politics. She suffered a major setback halfway into the campaign when her lung collapsed and she had to go to Vancouver for surgery.  

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Copperbelt South

The only all-women race in this election, this new riding is made up mostly of what used to be the Mount Lorne seat held by the late NDP MLA Steve Cardiff.

Largely country residential, it includes the subdivisions of Wolf Creek, Pineridge, Mary Lake, Spruce Hill and Cowley Creek.

Former NDP cabinet minister Lois Moorcroft has returned to politics to carry the party's banner. She's up against Liberal Colleen Wirth, a nurse who ran in Mount Lorne in 2006, and the Yukon Party's Valerie Boxall, who also ran in Mount Lorne in the last election. 

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Not only a new riding, but a new party leader trying to win his first seat makes this one worth watching. 

Yukon Party leader Darrell Pasloski has staked his political career on this race. He lives in the riding and could have run anywhere in Whitehorse but chose to run here instead.

His competition is former NDP cabinet minister Dave Sloan, who is running for the Liberals, and NDP candidate Stephen Dunbar-Edge, the executive director of the Whitehorse food bank. 

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Riverdale South

Yukon Party cabinet minister Glenn Hart won this riding by just 33 votes in 2006. Many are expecting another close race this time.

Hart's main competition is NDP candidate Jan Stick, a former city councillor and Liberal candidate Dan Curtis, the executive director of Skills Canada Yukon. Both are making their first foray into territorial politics. Hart first won the riding in 2002 after toppling then Liberal cabinet minister Sue Edelman. Prior to that it was the conservative stronghold of Bea Firth for 14 years.  

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