|This riding could be very close but I'm guessing that Eric Melillo will be re-elected. Melillo seems to be a very centrist member of the CPC who seems to be more like what you would expect from a moderate Progressive Conservative and maybe even a Liberal. With a huge Indigenous population, the NDP candidate will do well but I'm thinking that Kenora and Dryden and in between will prefer Melillo.|
|I was on the fence for a long time on this because it really was a tossup on paper. The Greens and PPC were the only candidates with no chance of winning, leaving the Cons, Libs and NDP all in the mix, and all with a real chance to win, as usual.|
There's a lot of anti-Trudeau sentiment here that has only grown, and I see no real path to victory for them here. Votes going Liberal to NDP or NDP to Liberal is nothing new, but they seem to be losing a lot of votes to the Conservatives, which is odd.
The Liberal candidate this time is an unknown newbie (David Bruno) instead of a sitting MP like last time (Bob Nault). A newbie can obviously win (as current MP Melillo did) but the anti-Trudeau sentiment is at least as strong now as last time, I think stronger, and the Conservative MP is obviously better known now, with an uptick in Conservative support in the national and regional polls, so I think the Liberals are going to be out of luck once again in this riding.
Traditionally the NDP have good support here and across the north, especially with great past candidates and representatives like Howard Hampton, who is still very active and loved in the community. But their new candidate Janine Seymour has been surprisingly off the radar, especially as a new candidate. ‘There are lawn signs but no word of mouth’ is one way I heard it put and I think that sums it up well - the base NDP support is there but I don't feel any real excitement, or expect this candidate to get many ‘new votes’. I actually had to look up her name while doing this write-up. Their previous candidate, Chief Rudy Turtle, was more recognizable and very outspoken on an issue (mercury cleanup) that really matters to a lot of people in the community, and he came close in vote numbers but still finished third. I just don't see the NDP getting within 1,000 votes again, now that the Conservative candidate actually has some experience (even though it's just the 18 months).
Speaking of the Conservative, I'm still surprised Melillo won this seat in the last election. I thought the Liberals would lose more votes than they did, and that more of them would go to the NDP. The NDP still have a chance this time, but without any campaign flubs by Melillo (could happen), or a surprising boost in NDP interest/votes before election day, or a sudden surge of votes for the PPC that leeches away Conservative support (not gonna happen), I think this riding will almost definitely stay blue.
|Both the Libs and NDP had star candidates here in 2019 - the Liberals had a longtime MP in Bob Nault, and the NDP had Chief Rudy Turtle, who got national attention amidst the Grassy Narrows issue. Yet a 21-year old still won it for the Tories. Without those opponents, Melillo getting some experience, and the non-indigenous parts of this riding leaning right in a way Northern Ontario typically doesn't, I think this one stays blue.|
|Eric Melillo was elected in a surprise upset in 2019 defeating liberal mp Bob Nault. But the riding had been conservative from 2008-11 when current provincial mpp Greg Rickford mp. so the conservatives have been doing better in this riding in recent years especially in the southern portion of the riding. The liberals and ndp have both found a new candidates this year David Bruno and Janine Seymour.|
|I would add Premier Ford deserves some credit for Con victory here last time - he was unpopular provincially, but went to this corner of the province to promote development and such making the headlines before last federal election. NDP candidate is again Aboriginal this time, should keep her support base, Lib is unknown. Lib scaring over private health care by Cons may be of some impact here, as well as anger at Lib vaccine mandates, with Cons not distinguishing themselves too sharply. I would say, for now Dippers first on the grounds of at least firmly keeping their Aboriginal base, then Cons, than Libs, but it might be hard to predict to the end.|
|It depends on who's running here, really. The Liberals had ex-MP advantage in 15, and incumbent advantage in '19; neither factor now, so in a 3-way like this, don't be surprised if 3rd place is in the cards for them--or *anyone*, really, even Melillo a la Rickford in '15. But it also depends upon turnout, and where it is--Kenora saw a big overall vote drop-off from '15, largely due to reduced turnouts in the northern reserves. (In a quartet of ‘Liberal reserve’ polls centering upon Sandy Lake, the Liberal vote collapsed from 1028 to 445...but the *overall* vote collapsed from 1182 to 617.) In fact, the losing NDP in '15 had barely less share than Melillo won with in '19, but nearly 1000 more votes. Of course, much as w/Rickford, Melillo benefited from an Central Time Zone/easternmost outpost of Western Canada dynamic, and really sewed up in a Scheer-ian way through the Cons being the nominal first choice within ‘non-native’ communities. Meanwhile, the NDP offered Grassy Narrows chief Eric Turtle, who ‘held the base’ quite well. Libs might claim Turtle split the vote; ScheerMelilloCons might claim that the Libs became irrelevant to their constituents' interests, so griping about Rudy Turtle is easy scapegoating. Anyway, that was then, and here we go again, and remember: it's about turnout, and GOTV, and motivation. (And the advance and special ballots, which tend to favour non-native. In this case, *all* the advance polls, and Group 2 special ballots, went Conservative--even those in the FN-dominant north. Meanwhile, when it came to votes cast on e-day, *Rudy Turtle* was ahead w/32% and less than 3 points separating the three parties.)|
|Former Liberal MP Bob Nault underperformed here in 2015, only winning this riding by 500 votes, despite the Trudeau Majority. This foreshadowed problems for him, and it was not a surprise that he lost the seat in 2019. The split between the Liberals & NDP helped the Conservatives come up the middle, and that could happen again. The Liberals now have a new candidate in David Bruno and the question is whether he can coalesce the non-Conservative vote behind him. If the NDP wants to win here, they will also have to coalesce the non-Conservative vote. If not, Conservative MP Eric Melillo will be re-elected.|
|Very difficult to predict. The young Conservative candidate's extremely marginal win here ensures a tight race between all three parties. I would say there is a slight tilt for the Liberals here as of right now, but even the tiniest of changes could affect this riding, so it's far too early tell.|
|This might well be the only seat in Ontario where the three parties are about evenly matched (plenty of seats like that in BC, but not in Ontario), assuming respectable candidates on all sides. Even in the Hamilton/Niagara region, where the parties all have sizeable bases, the distribution there almost never produces real 3-way races, unlike Kenora where every election cycle can be considered a 3-way tie up until the vote.|
|Could go NDP, or could go Conservative, but also could go Liberal. Point is, this one is a total toss-up. Hard to predict it until the votes start coming in.|