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Battleground seat: St Catherine North Eastern - JLP’s Leslie Campbell vs PNP’s Phyllis Mitchell

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2016 | 2:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Leslie Campbell
Phyllis Mitchell
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JLP's Leslie Campbell

vs PNP's Phyllis Mitchell

Of the 14 times that electors in St Catherine North East voted for the candidates of their choice in general elections since 1944, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has registered 10 wins in its column, with the People's National Party (PNP) able to eke out only four victories.

In 2011, the JLP's Gregory Mair trounced his challenger, the PNP's Abe Dabdoub, by 618 votes, but the voter turnout was nothing to shout about, with just 50 per cent of eligible electors participating in the process.

This time around, Phyllis Mitchell, a close ally of PNP president Portia Simpson Miller, has thrown her hat into the ring, returning to the seat she once represented in Parliament when she sent the JLP's Anthony Johnson into retirement from representational politics.

 

LOST SEAT

 

Mitchell beat Johnson in 1993 by only 160 votes and was initially declared the winner of the St Catherine North East seat by 37 votes in 1997 over the JLP's Dabdoub. However, Mitchell lost the seat in 2001 in a court challenge brought by her challenger. Dabdoub later crossed the floor of Parliament and joined the PNP.

A seasoned politician, Mitchell cannot be overlooked in her quest to return to Gordon House. She is going up against the JLP's Leslie Campbell, an attorney-at-law who tasted defeat in the 2007 election when the PNP's Natalie Neita Headley dismissed his challenge for the St Catherine East Central constituency.

There was no St Catherine North East constituency in the 1967 and 1972 general elections owing to boundary adjustments. However, further realignment saw the creation of a new St Catherine North East constituency in 1976.

The race for this seat is expected to go down to the wire, and it is believed that the party that brings out a larger percentage of uncommitted voters in the constituency on election day will be celebrating all night.

BOX: St Catherine North East

2011 Margin of victory: 618 votes

JLP's Gregory Mair - 5,786

PNP's Abe Dabdoub - 5,168

Total electors - 21,961

Voter turnout - 50 %

Rejected ballots - 42

1944 - Margin of victory: 1,160 votes

JLP's Samuel Black - 4,559

PNP's Courtney Leslie - 3,399

Total electors - 23,268

Voter turnout - 37.7 %

Rejected ballots - 816

1949 - Margin of victory: 2,357 votes

PNP's Donald Nation - 5,507

JLP's S. Bennett - 3,150

IND. Samuel Black - 1,162

IND. Melbourne Cox - 1,016

IND. Isaiah Crossley - 1,004

Total electors - 25,213

Voter turnout - 50 %

Rejected ballots - 285

1955 - Margin of victory: 2,988 votes

PNP's Melbourne Cox - 7,018

JLP's Hector Sage - 2,681

Farmers' Party J.P. Gyles - 4,030

IND. Isaiah Crossley - 733

Total electors - 25,597

Voter turnout - 57.6 %

Rejected ballots - 291

1959 - Margin of victory: 591 votes

JLP's John Gyles - 7,293

PNP's Melbourne Cox - 6,702

Total electors - 20,905

Voter turnout - 67.6 %

Rejected ballots - 130

1962 - Margin of victory: 1,332 votes

JLP's John Gyles - 7,761

PNP's Ben Cox - 6,429

Total electors - 19,717

Voter turnout - 72.4 %

Rejected ballots - 97

1976 - Margin of victory: 2,422 votes

JLP's EK Powell - 6,352

PNP's Lloyd Hay - 3,930

Total electors - 12,394

Voter turnout - 83 %

Rejected ballots - 66

1980 - Margin of victory: 5,752 votes

JLP's E.K. Powell - 7,945

PNP's Dorrett Aarons - 2,193

Total electors - 12,403

Voter turnout - 82 %

Rejected ballots - 52

1983

JLP's E.K Powell elected unopposed by acclamation

1989 - Margin of victory: 1,136 votes

JLP's Anthony Johnson - 5,740

PNP's Phyllis Mitchell - 4,604

Total electors - 14,521

Voter Turnout - 72 %

Rejected ballots - 147

1993 - Margin of victory: 160 votes

PNP's Phyllis Mitchell - 3,983

JLP's Anthony Johnson - 3,823

Total electors - 13,188

Voter turnout - 59 %

Rejected ballots - 35

1997 - Margin of victory: 37 votes

PNP's Phyllis Mitchell - 4,750

JLP's Abe Dabdoub - 4,713

Total electors - 14,134

Voter turnout - 68 %

Rejected ballots - 92

2002 - Margin of victory: 683 votes

JLP's Abe Dabdoub - 5,297

PNP's Phyllis Mitchell - 4,614

Total electors - 15,600

Voter turnout - 64 %

Rejected ballots - 62

2007 - Margin of victory: 959 votes

JLP's Gregory Mair - 6,064

PNP's Phyllis Mitchell - 5,105

Total electors - 18,289

Voter turnout - 61 %

Rejected ballots - 52