Golding, Brown Burke steamroll opponents
In short order, the People's National Party's (PNP) Mark Golding and Angela Brown Burke will be taking their seats in the Lower House, having scored emphatic electoral wins in yesterday's by-elections in St Andrew South and St Andrew South West, respectively.
Both senators resigned from the Upper House on October 6, and were subsequently nominated for the by-elections.
Golding trounced the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dane Dennis by securing 6,095 votes to become the member of parliament for St Andrew South. Dennis only managed to eke out 894 votes.
At the same time, Brown Burke crushed the challenge of the JLP's Victor Hyde to succeed former PNP president Portia Simpson Miller as member of parliament for St Andrew South West. Brown Burke registered 6,325 votes to Hyde's 223 votes.
In the 2016 general election, 10,792 persons voted for the PNP in St Andrew South West, while 702 voted for the JLP. In St Andrew South, the PNP won with 9,431 votes to the JLP's 1,220.
The less-than-impressive voter turnout for both constituencies was not surprising, as fewer electors usually go to the polls during by-elections compared to national polls.
Yesterday's voting in the two Corporate Area constituencies was without any major incident and saw supporters of both political parties engaged in friendly rivalry at various polling stations.
Up to mid-afternoon yesterday, voting in St Andrew South West and St Andrew South remained lethargic, with electors showing up at the various polling stations in small numbers.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) reported that little less than 12 per cent of the 25,670 electors on the voters' list had turned out in St Andrew South West.
At the same time, a similar percentage of the 23,533 persons on the voters' list turned out to cast their ballots up to 11 in the morning in St Andrew South.
Golding said he was expecting a strong showing from his supporters, noting that he had done the work on the ground. However, he indicated that the Electronic Voter Identification Ballot Issuing System had created delays, causing some voters to leave the polling stations without voting.
The JLP's Dennis was brimming with confidence when journalists caught up with him in Boys' Town, off Collie Smith Drive, after he cast his ballot.
He sent a signal to his opponent that St Andrew South was no longer a safe PNP seat, noting that he would be chipping away at the PNP's huge advantage and increase his votes in yesterday's by-election.
Dennis described Golding as a political neophyte, arguing that it was the first time he ran for a seat in representational politics.
The 28-year-old JLP candidate said he had enough experience to successfully challenge for the seat.