1. Vaughan: Mayor Maurizio has won this riding easily in recent years, and defeated Richard Lorello 49% to 34% in 2008.
My seat projection system gives the Liberals a 91.4% chance to hold Vaughan during a general election, but this is a by election - a by election featuring a legitimate star candidate in Julian Fantino. Yes, I know the term "star candidate" gets used to describe anyone who has ever run for student council, had an op ed published in their local paper, or appeared as an extra on Road to Avonlea, but Fantino is legit. He's a former OPP Commissioner and Toronto Chief of Police, and is well respected in Vaughan. He's someone Stephen Harper would dearly love to have at his side when talking about Conservative "tough on crime" policies.
Taking on Fantino will be Liberal candidate Tony Genco, the former CEO and President of Downsview Park (a site that hosted both the Pope and the Rolling Stones...sadly not at the same time).
This has the makings of a good fight, with the Tories likely the slight favourites.
Winnipeg North: This seat was formerly held by Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the name that everyone loves to say three times real fast.
Trying to fill Judy's shoes for the orange will be educator Kevin Chief.
Chief's chief competition will come from Liberal nominee Kevin Lamoureux, a man who makes up 50% of the provincial Liberal caucus in Manitoba. Also in the mix is Tory candidate
The projection model gives the NDP a 96.4% chance at holding the seat, with the Tories at 3.5% and the Liberals 0.2% longshots. Again, that's for a general election and anything can happen in a by election.
Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette: This has been Inky Mark territory since 1997. Like Judy, Mark gave up the glories of life on the back benches for municipal politics and, like Judy, he went down in defeat on Wednesday.
Mark won the last election by 45 percentage points and my seat projector has the Tories at a 100% chance of holding it in a general election. So, to put it mildly, the challengers have their work cut out for them. Especially since neither the Liberals nor the NDP have nominated a challenger as of yet.
The Tory candidate is Robert Sopuck, who "has earned a solid reputation as an outspoken advocate for Manitoba’s rural communities". If elected, Sopuck would help the Tories cut into the NDP's long standing facial hair dominance in parliament.