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Published:Friday | December 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Damion Crawford heads to Gordon House

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter

There might have been two Damion Crawfords in the race but the voters in East Rural St Andrew knew which one they wanted to vote for and when the preliminary count ended last night, it was the People's National Party's (PNP) candidate who came out on top by the slimmest of margins.

The PNP's dreadlocked Crawford turned back his namesake who ran as an independent candidate and the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Joan Gordon-Webley who was seeking to retain control of the seat for her party.

The 9,622 votes Crawford earned were just enough to get by Gordon-Webley, who mustered a fighting 9,408. Damion Crawford, the independent, earned 58 votes.

Gordon-Webley had previously held the seat in 1980 during her first stint in representational politics.

With the political veteran going against the first-time contender in a seat which the JLP's Joseph Hibbert won by a mere 270 votes, political observers were keeping a close watch on this constituency.

Struggling to gain traction

This was further fuelled by public opinion polls which showed Gordon-Webley and the PNP's Crawford - who were both parachuted into the constituency late in the day - struggling to gain traction with potential voters.

A Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll conducted approximately one month before the election yesterday had found Gordon-Webley enjoying a seven per cent lead over Crawford in popular support in the constituency.

However, in the poll, which had a sampling error of plus or minus five per cent, the PNP trailed the JLP by a mere three percentage points.

With both parties pulling out all the stops, the interest remained high in the race even after the seat was declared for Crawford last night.