Saskatchewan

10 races to watch on election night

The Saskatchewan Party and the NDP used the majority of their time over the last month in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw, and those are where you can expect to see the closest races Monday night.

The campaigns focused on 4 major centres where margins are expected to be tighter

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe and Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili squared off at the Leaders' Debate at the Provincial Archives in Regina on Wednesday Oct. 14, 2020. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

If you need a hint as to where the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP thought election races were close, you just had to follow the campaigns.

Both parties used the majority of their time over the last month in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.

Neither party spent much time or leader resources more than 2 hours from the province's two largest centres.

The NDP is expected to hold its two northern seats.

In the southern and central parts of the province, the Saskatchewan Party painted the map green in 2011 and 2016.

In 2016, the Saskatchewan Party got at least 60 per cent of the votes in 30 of the seats it won outside Regina and Saskatoon. In the two cities, they won six by at least that margin.

Thirty-one seats are needed for a majority.

Here are 10 races to watch on election night:

Regina

NDP Leader Ryan Meili spent more time in Regina than Scott Moe during the month-long campaign. The NDP holds 5 of the city's 12 seats and has targeted at least three of those 12 for potential gains.

Regina Coronation Park

Candidates: SP: Mark Docherty, NDP: Noor Burki, Green Party: Irene Browatzke, PC: David Coates 

Incumbent: Docherty

2016 Margin: 147 votes

Storyline: Docherty of the Sask. Party won in 2011 and narrowly in 2016. He has been the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly since March 2018. Docherty faces Noor Burki of the NDP. Burki runs Wascana Driving School and won a contested nomination in May 2019. This riding was seen as a "safe" NDP seat until Docherty's breakthrough win in 2011. Kim Trew held the seat for the NDP from 1986 to 2011.

Regina Pasqua

Candidates: SP: Muhammad Fiaz, NDP: Bhajan Brar, Green Party: Heather Lau, PC: Harry Frank

Incumbent: Fiaz

2016 Margin: 298

Storyline: Fiaz won in the new riding in 2016. The NDP challenger is Bhajan Brar. Moe kicked off his campaign outside Fiaz's campaign office. The area includes the relatively new subdivision of Harbour Landing, which according to the city's most recent census has the lowest median age at 29.9. Fiaz was one of only three Sask. Party incumbents that needed to win a contested nomination.

Ryan Meili visited Noor Burki's campaign headquarters in Regina Coronation Park on Friday. Coronation Park was one of the tightest margins in 2016. (Sask NDP)

Regina University

Candidates: SP: Tina Beaudry-Mellor, NDP: Aleana Young, Green Party: Tanner Wallace, PC: Debbie Knill

Incumbent: Beaudry-Mellor

2016 Margin: 417

Storyline: This is one of several rematches from 2016. Moe and Beaudry-Mellor put up lawn signs together on day one of the campaign. Beaudry-Mellor is one of only a few recent cabinet ministers expected to be in a close race. Young is a member of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association executive and stepped down as a Regina Public School Division trustee to run. In 2016, the Liberal and Green candidates combined for 566 votes. The Liberals do not have a candidate on the ballot this year. 

Regina Walsh Acres

Candidates: SP: Derek Meyers, NDP: Kelly Hardy, PC: Ken Grey (leader), Independent: Sandra Morin 

Incumbent: Vacant (previously held by SP)

2016 Margin: 599

Storyline: The race here is wide open after former NDP cabinet minister Sandra Morin was not approved by the NDP after winning the nomination. Morin decided to run as an independent. There could be a vote split on both the left and right, as PC Leader Ken Grey is also running in this riding.

Saskatoon

On paper, Saskatoon looks more like a battleground than Regina. Perhaps that is why Moe seemed to make a few more trips to the province's largest city. In 2016, the NDP won just three of 14 seats there. It has since won two by-elections, giving it five seats at dissolution. The NDP is running new candidates in three of those five ridings because the incumbents did not seek re-election. 

Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood

Candidates: SP: Lisa Lambert SP, NDP: David McGrane, Gillian Walker (Green), John Lowe (PC)

Incumbent: Lambert

2016 Margin: 934

Storyline: First contested in 2016, this riding combined areas that were strong for the NDP in the past. McGrane was named president of the Saskatchewan NDP in 2016 and is a political studies professor in Saskatoon. For the NDP to make a breakthrough in Saskatoon, it will need this seat.

Saskatoon Eastview

Candidates: SP: Chris Guérette, NDP: Matt Love, Green: Jan Norris 

Incumbent: Vacant

2016 Margin: Sask. Party 971

Storyline: Guérette was helicoptered into this riding a week into the campaign after the resignation of Daryl Cooper. The seat is one of two that has been vacant for more than a year. Love will have the advantage of being selected much earlier than Guérette, who has name recognition as the head of the Saskatoon and District Home Builders' Association and former chair of the Conseil Scolaire Fransaskois. Love was a CBC Future 40 recipient and is a well-known teacher at Aden Bowman Collegiate.

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe places a lawn sign for Regina University candidate Tina Beaudry-Mellor. The constituency was one of the closest races in 2016. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Saskatoon Meewasin 

Candidates: SP: Rylund Hunter, NDP: Ryan Meili (Leader), Green: Jacklin Andrews 

Incumbent: Meili

2017 By-election Margin: 704 

Storyline: Meili will attempt to be the first NDP Leader in the last three elections to win his seat. Dwain Lingenfelter lost in 2011 and Cam Broten lost in 2016. Both were defeated by rookie candidates. Meili is up against Rylund Hunter of the Sask. Party, who knocked off Guérette for the nomination. Meili won a by-election in 2017, but the Sask. Party won the two previous main elections.

Saskatoon Riversdale

Candidates: SP: Marv Friesen, NDP: Ashlee Hicks, Green: Delanie Passer

Incumbent: Vacant

2016 Margin: Won by NDP 259

Storyline: Moe has made two stops in this riding, perhaps a sign the Sask. Party thinks it can gain this traditional NDP seat. Aside from 1982-86, the NDP has held this riding since 1967. It has been previously held by NDP Premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. Danielle Chartier, who held the seat since 2009 for the NDP, is not running again. Friesen lost to Chartier in 2016 and is running again.

Scott Moe made a campaign stop outside Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert last week. (Scott Moe/Twitter)

Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw Wakamow

Candidates: SP: Greg Lawrence, NDP: Melissa Patterson, Green: Abby Firlotte, PC: Darcy Jensen

Incumbent: Lawrence

2016 Margin: 695

Storyline: Once an NDP stronghold and the former seat of Lorne Calvert, Lawrence turned the tables in 2011. Both parties spent time in Moose Jaw during the campaign. Moe made an announcement there increasing the veterans' grant program alongside Lawrence, who was the government's military liaison.

Prince Albert

Prince Albert Northcote

Candidates: SP: Alana Ross, NDP: Nicole Rancourt, Green: Sarah Kraynick, PC: Jaret Nikolaisen 

Incumbent: Rancourt

2016 Margin: 261

Storyline: Like Moose Jaw, Prince Albert was a location of frequent campaign trips from Moe and Meili. The seat has flip-flopped in the last two elections, but had previously been held by the NDP from 1991to 2011. Issues like a new bridge and expansion of the Victoria Hospital are hot-button issues in the city.

Just a weekend stands between you and Election Day in Saskatchewan. Host Leisha Grebinski checks in with our political panel on where the leaders are spending their time in the final few days of the campaign. Murray Mandryk is a columnist with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Adam Hunter covers politics for CBC Saskatchewan. 12:21

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 13 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

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