12 August 2007

To watch out for this week

This week, a little bit of electoral history is going to be made in the Midsocket & Rosemount ward on Aberdeen City Council: the first STV By-Election to replace a Councillor since the introduction of the new voting system for the recent election.

The By-Election is to replace the late Tory Councillor John Porter, who had been a Grampian Regional Councillor from 1978 all the way through to Grampian Regional Council's abolition. After that, he won a seat on the unitary Aberdeen City Council.

Porter topped the poll in this ward in May, with 1,503 first preference votes, or 1.11 of the quota. Bill Cormie of the SNP was elected in second place, with 1,431 #1's, 1.05 of the quota. Labour's Jenny Laing came third with 1,144 #1's (0.84 of the quota) and was elected at Stage 6. Both LibDem candidates, outgoing Councillor Steve Delaney and Jim Donaldson, missed out, though Delaney would have been elected had more of Donaldson's transfers gone his way. The SSP's Christine Chandler came sixth, and was excluded at Stage 3.

So nominally, the Tories are in the lead here on first preference votes, with the SNP second. Technically, in terms of first preferences, the LibDems come third with a combined total of 1,200 votes (671 for Delaney and 529 for Donaldson), and Labour are fourth.

There are six candidates: John Munro Corall is looking to become the SNP's second Councillor in the ward, the LibDems' Steve Delaney is looking to return to the Council. Fraser Forsyth is the Tory looking to hold the seat. There's an Independent in Dennis Forbes Grattan. The SSP are not challenging this time, but Solidarity are with Stephen Hadden looking to become the party's second Councillor in Scotland. Allan McIntosh is Labour's man.

Remember though that a candidate will need a clear majority of votes: coming first on its own will not do, so transfers will be important - no party came anywhere near 50% in May - and this will, I suspect, be the Tories' downfall, allied to the fact that Porter will have had 29 years to build up a personal following in at least part of the ward while Forsyth will not have that benefit. Delaney's prospects will be enhanced by the fact that he is his party's sole standard-bearer this time around, so it's a battle between him and Corall for #2 votes from Labour and Tory supporters.

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