Less than a week before federal election day, three tight races in Edmonton appear to be coming down to the wire.
According to polling data from 338Canada, the races in the ridings of Edmonton Griesbach, Edmonton Centre and Edmonton Mill Woods are neck-and-neck between Conservative incumbents and their closest challengers.
The battle in the southeast riding of Mill Woods is currently the most up in the air, with challenger and Ward 8 city councillor Ben Henderson polling one per cent ahead of incumbent Tim Uppal.
Mayor Don Iveson put his support behind Henderson on Tuesday, hoping to give him a leg up in the tight race. Having served on Edmonton city council together since 2007, Iveson touted Henderson as one of the hardest-working public officials he has worked with and a strong voice for municipalities on issues such as affordable housing, transit and climate change.
Henderson served as the co-chair of council’s Energy Transition Initiative and advocated to the federal government as chairman of the Green Municipal Fund Council.
“He has a really clear sense of what our community needs and what communities across this country are going to need for a a strong COVID-19 recovery, and that is a perspective that will be incredibly valuable to have in Parliament,” Iveson said at a Tuesday morning announcement at Henderson’s campaign headquarters. “I really do think, having worked with him closely, that Ben is the best person I can think of to represent Edmonton’s interests in the government caucus.”
Iveson said his endorsement is strictly for Henderson because of their longstanding relationship on city council, and not support for the Liberal party as a whole. He said he doesn’t have plans to issue other endorsements for candidates of any party in the federal election.
“This is not a partisan endorsement. I simply believe in Ben as a person of integrity, of substance and a real community leader,” Iveson said, noting he will be door knocking over the next week in support of Henderson’s campaign. “If you’re in Mill Woods, I seriously urge you to put your support behind Ben Henderson for member of Parliament.”
The riding has gone back and forth to different parties in the last two elections, with then-Liberal candidate and now Edmonton mayoral candidate Amarjeet Sohi winning a tight race in 2015 before Uppal turned the riding blue again in 2019 for the Conservatives.
Another tight race is brewing in Edmonton Centre between former Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault and Conservative incumbent James Cumming, who won the seat in 2019. Per 338Canada polls, the riding is leaning toward Boissonnault, with 36 per cent support, up four per cent on Cumming with 32 per cent, followed by NDP candidate Heather MacKenzie with 25 per cent.
In the north side of the city, two-term Conservative MP and former city councillor Kerry Diotte is facing a tight challenge from NDP candidate Blake Desjarlais. Diotte is currently polling two per cent ahead of Desjarlais with 36 per cent support.
All of the other Edmonton-area ridings are considered safe or likely seats for the incumbents, all Conservative candidates except for NDP incumbent Heather McPherson in Edmonton Strathcona.