Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Race For Calgary Currie

For 33 years from its founding in 1971, Currie was considered a "bedrock riding" - The PC's were going to win, no matter what. Imagine their surprise when, in 2004, QR77 Afternoon Talk host Dave Taylor walked away with a win in the riding, by a little over 500 votes. Suddenly, the bedrock riding was in enemy hands. The incumbent, Taylor, is seeking re-election, but will have to face another ex-media personality, Arthur Kent of the Tories.

Demographically, Currie is a study in contrasts... the riding includes the high density low-rent apartment buildings just South of the "Red Mile", but also includes upper-crust "Mount Royal" - an area in which the Tories do exceptionally well, even during the last election, when they lost the riding. The less well-off parts of the riding tend to lean left, and carried Taylor to victory in 2004.

The Candidates:
Dave Taylor (Lib)
Arthur Kent (PC)
Marc Power (NDP)
Ken Mazeroll (WAP)
Graham MacKenzie (Grn)

Dave Taylor bitches and moans better than anyone in the legislature - but it works for his constituents, and I was an avid listener of his radio show "back in the day" (plus, he almost always read my e-mails on the air, so thanks, Dave). He has a keen intellect and works his butt off as the MLA and Taft's top lieutenant. He does come off as a bit too caustic for a lot of people, though - if he toned it down a bit, he'd like attract a lot more NDP voters, as well - good for his re-election prospects, but bad for the Liberal party overall. Taylor is the counterpoint to professorial Taft, and his "attack dog" style of questioning is effective - a point that is proven by just how much hard-core PC partisans hate the guy. He will be difficult to unseat in Currie.

Arthur Kent should have a spot on the World Poker Tour, because he is playing his cards masterfully. The former "Scud Stud" has placed himself opposite Premier Stelmach, which is sure to play EXTREMELY well in Upper Mount Royal, where "Ed" is a four-letter word. Surprisingly personable and approachable despite his international reputation, the newsman looks and sounds every bit the ideal representative for the muckity-mucks in the multi-million dollar homes on the riding's east side... whether he can reach out to the working poor in the basement suites and 1-bedroom walk-ups of the riding remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, though: The local debates between the 2 lead candidates in this riding will be a HELL of a lot of fun to listen to. :)

Mark Power is stuck between a rock (Taylor) and a hard place (Kent). The NDP candidate and social activist could normally be expected to do well in a riding with Currie's demographics - unfortunately for Power, Dave Taylor is already sounding the trumpet in the riding as a friend of the oppressed minorities, be they economic, sexual, ethnic, or otherwise. With the left-of-centre voters in full-on panic mode over Kent's broad appeal, the left is going to flock overwhlmingly to Taylor to try and keep Dave in office - leaving Mark twisting in the wind. The PoliSci grad from the University of Calgary is an accomplished debater, but on-stage with 2 media personalities, Power will be hard-pressed to compete with 2 maestros of the 30-second sound byte.

Ken Mazeroll captured 348 votes in this riding for the Alberta Alliance in 2004. He is banking on outrage among the Big Oil upper-crust in the riding over the new Royalty Regime. Despite the fact that this is his second run for MLA, not much is known about this candidate, other than the fact that he appears to be a big supporter of a certain independant candidate.

No information is available on Green candidate Graham MacKenzie at this time.

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