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No party has come back from those kinds of deficits in any seat since 1982. It has only happened six times in Saskatchewan history.
Alternative paths — like an all-urban strategy or a repeat of the 2003 election — don’t look any easier. It has Jim Farney, the head of the politics and international studies department at the University of Regina, asking what this election is really about for the New Democrats.
“Yes, there’s a hypothetical path to government, but there’s also a hypothetical path to extinction as a party,” said Farney.
“I don’t think that’s likely, but it’s probably more likely than becoming government.”
Contested seats: The NDP’s 10 ridings most in play
1. Regina Coronation Park, Sask. Party led by 147 votes in 2016
2. Saskatoon Westview, 217 votes
3. Regina Pasqua, 298 votes
4. Saskatoon University, 348 votes
5. Regina University, 417 votes
6. Regina Walsh Acres, 599 votes
7. Moose Jaw Wakamow, 695 votes
8. Prince Albert Carlton, 883 votes
9. Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood, 934 votes
10. Saskatoon Eastview, 971 votes
Any realistic scenario leading to a change in government starts with the same 10 Saskatchewan Party ridings, where the vote gap was below 1,000 in 2016. Farney calls them “contested ridings.” The NDP would have to hold the six seats it won in close races, and pick off all of its rival’s lowest hanging fruit.
It’s a list that runs through the established suburbs of Regina and Saskatoon, just beyond the orange heartland in the downtown cores, and into the south ends of Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.