Wednesday, June 10, 2009

election fever: inside younger's headquarters

i was covering andrew younger's bid to snatch dartmouth east from the ndp for metro last night.

i got to his main street headquarters well before he did. at first, the campaign workers gave me a wide berth, and with lisa raitt and the errant tape still on everyone's minds, no wonder. after it started filling up and excitement started building, i faded out of mind.

younger, who is technically still a councillor in the area, started slow but soon caught his ndp rival joan massey and pulled ahead. cbc was listing the riding results alphabetically, so every time we got round to the cape breton listings, the room grew tense. dartmouth east: younger out in front by 100 votes. a campainger grumbled to me about unknown opponents calling people with younger signs on their lawns and telling them voting had been extended till 9pm, so they might as well wait for the rush to die down. of course, final results were coming in by 9, so any tricked voters would have missed out. i couldn't decide if it was dirty politics by a younger rival, or a subtle smear attempt from his staff, hoping i would run that story and make his opponents look bad.

'you only need one more' than the opposition, one campaign worker reminded the room as cbc showed younger holding his narrow lead.

when his lead was a sure thing, staff broke out the liberal thunder sticks, which looked familiar - 'we "borrowed" them from iggy,' a worker told me. i suspect this won't be the last time 'younger' and 'liberal leader' go together - he's a bright, charismatic guy with big ambitions. in 2006, the grits came a distant third in dartmouth east. younger added 2,000 votes to give them the win.

as he was a rare bit if grit good news - they added 2 seats overall, not great, not terrible -i'm sure he'll get even more attention for creating a puddle of red in a sea of orange.
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