Wednesday, November 24, 2010

By-election update: Fantino, who?

If, like most readers of this blog, you happen to stumble upon it through, you'll doubtless notice the many Libloggers who have taken it upon themselves to point out the Missing Man of Inaction, aka. Vaughan Conservative by-election candidate Julian Fantino, who never bothered to show up for yet another all-candidates debate.

As several of these bloggers have pointed out, this is either a sign of the hilariously dubbed "Dianne Haskett strategy" (h/t Scott's DiaTribes) where the Conservative strategists keep their controversial, outspoken, and slightly incapacitated candidate out of the eye of the public in order to minimize any damage their own candidate may cause to their chances of winning the riding.

Well, apparently now the strategy has backfired, with local media outlets pouncing on the absent Fantino and putting the man, and Conservative strategy, in the centre of the spotlight. Way to stay hidden, Julian!

Meanwhile, advanced voting has already opened in all three ridings, and apparently in Vaughan and Winnipeg North, turnout for it has increased, while in Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, it's dropped significantly. And while we know that advanced voting is usually prime Conservative territory, in all three ridings its fairly proportional to each party's vote in an actual election, exemplified by Vaughan, where the Liberals managed 47% in the advance polls, and 49% in the election, while the Conservatives won 37% in the advance polls, and 34% in the election. The same seems true for WinNorth and DSRM as well. Meaning that this time, there may be no inherent advantage any of the parties have when it comes to advance voting numbers, since it all falls proportionately with their share of the popular vote in an election anyways. We'll have to see if this holds true for these elections.

And the Facebook war continues...:

Tony Genco, Liberal - 535 fans
Julian Fantino, Conservative - 471 fans
Claudia Rodriguez-Lorrain, Green - 286 fans
Kevin Bordian, NDP - 199 fans

Winnipeg North
Kevin Chief, NDP - 1,263 fans
Kevin Lamoureux, Liberal - 665 fans
Julie Javier, Conservative - 220 fans
Jeff Coleman, Pirate Party - 74 fans
John Harvie, Green - 27 fans

Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette
Denise Harder, NDP - 199 fans
Robert Sopuck, Conservative - 165 fans
Kate Storey, Green - 82 fans
Christopher Scott Sarna, Liberal - 63 fans

Even the amount of Facebook interest in Winnipeg North makes me wonder whether we should be paying as much attention to Vaughan as we are...


  1. Hopefully it does not happen, but the real question Monday night could be: How did the Liberals lose a seat they held for 22 years to a phantom candidate who received bad press?

  2. Now, that's actually an unfair assumption: Fantino being a "phantom candidate." He is already well known among the population, and he has a high profile already. What the Conservatives are hoping is that continuing name recognition among the voters of Vaughan will be enough to flip the riding for them.

    Keeping Fantino out of the spotlight helped reinforce this strategy, but the problem they have now is that he is in the spotlight, and without going out into the press to combat that bad press, it's just going to drive the media narrative against him. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, no?

    If the Liberals do lose the riding, then Fantino's name recognition won out over any bad press, and whether that's down to Conservative spin or just Fantino himself, who knows.

  3. Your blog refers to Fantino as "Missing Man of Inaction", so I don't know how phantom candidate is off.

    You are almost inferring that name recognition trumpets Leadership, Policies and GOTV.

    BTW, Tony is hardly an unknown in Vaughan. If I lived in Vaughan he would be by far my preferred choice - I have never been a fan of Fantino the cop, even when he was flirting with the Ontario Liberals.

  4. "Even the amount of Facebook interest in Winnipeg North makes me wonder whether we should be paying as much attention to Vaughan as we are..."

    Don't forget, though, that the Winnipeg North seat has been open since before summer. Kevin Chief was nominated on May 31, and Kevin Lamoureux a month later. They've had longer to get organized (publicly anyway) than anyone in Vaughan.

  5. Peter,

    Well, sometimes, name recognition does trump all that stuff, or more accurately, it helps boost all of them. When you have a popular name attached to policies, to a volunteer base, and to the general image of a party, you can go from zero to winner in a second. And no matter how well known Tony is in Vaughan, and I believe you that he is, Fantino is more well known, if a hell of a lot more controversial.


    I suppose you have a point. But still, the media crows about Vaughan every other day, and while WinNorth gets a mention here and there, the intensity of the race just seems a lot more real than up in Vaughan. I could be wrong, though.

  6. It could have something to do with Toronto being the media centre.

  7. Hope the hockey guy doesn't accidentally slip a promo in on the TV show - then apologize later.

    There's been a lot of that sneaky stuff going on lately.

  8. PG,

    I'd actually wager more of it is the fact that Vaughan is a Liberal-held riding and the media is just hankering for more evidence that Ignatieff will be the end of the Liberal Party. Sensationalist dribble always sells, aye.


    I would not be surprised if he did, though CBC would probably bring down a mighty hammer on him if it came out. If its not shut down at that point..

  9. Fantino is hiding away in a Black in White cruiser back of Caledonia.

    Tomy Hawk