Three by-elections were held in the province this week. Going into the vote the Saskatchewan Party was defending the three seats, two urban based and one rural.
Once the votes were counted the NDP reclaimed the two city constituencies which had been traditionally NDP prior to the 2007 election. The Saskatchewan Party held onto the constituency of Lumsden Morse.
There are certain take-aways from the by-elections, however, keep in mind that they occurred in the middle of summer when voters are not engaged and by-elections traditionally have low voter turnout. These by-elections ranged from a 29 to 38 per cent turnout.
NDP leader Carla Beck’s job is to rebuild the NDP into a viable party again. The by-election victories help her towards that goal in that her caucus is now larger than it has been since 2007 by a margin of one.
The Saskatchewan Party, while winning the constituency of Lumsden Morse, saw a drop in voter support around 20 per cent. The upstart Saskatchewan United Party, led by a former Saskatchewan Party MLA, captured roughly 22 per cent of the vote.
A concern for the Saskatchewan Party heading into the general election next year will not be a resurgent NDP Party but rather competition on the right that may nibble away at its support in key rural constituencies that could offer a chance for the NDP of coming up the middle.