by Gary Spaulding, senior gleaner writer
Veteran People's National Party (PNP) politician Horace Dalley has carried out his threat to settle a political score when he copped an electoral victory against his old political rival, Laurie Broderick, of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in North Clarendon yesterday.
This signifies that Dalley's one-term hiatus in the political wilderness is over as he heads back to Gordon House.
Dalley received 7,695 votes to defeat Broderick, who polled 5,963 of the 13,608 votes after all 94 ballot boxes were counted. A total of 21,204 people were eligible to vote in the constituency.
The PNP's Dalley, who won the seat for four consecutive electoral terms between 1989 and 2007 and Broderick, an attorney-at-law, who, by their own admission, have enjoyed friendly political rivalry over the years, have been going at it since 2002.
Dalley had been coasting on a comfortable ride between 1989 and 1997 - in the hilly Clarendon seat - dispatching each JLP standard-bearer with ease.
But along came Broderick, the younger brother of the late JLP stalwart Dr Percival Broderick, in 2002.
The political scene changed in the farming community as Broderick energetically worked the constituency as he felt the tide changing.
Dalley sensed the change as well and rallied in a constituency with which he was all too familiar to defeat Broderick in the 2002 general election. Dalley secured 5,960 to Broderick's 5,333.
It was a close victory for Dalley, who was accustomed to huge victories with margins in excess of 1,000, but it was a big morale booster for Broderick as well and he continued to toil.
Broderick's efforts paid off in 2007 when he upstaged Dalley who had things pretty much his way between February 1989 and September 2007. Broderick secured 6,118 votes to Dalley's 5,891.
In an ironic twist, Dalley, the man who once dispatched political foes by thousands of votes, claimed he was deprived of a victory as farm workers who supported him were overseas.
One thing became clear in 2007 - Northern Clarendon was no longer the safe PNP seat it once was.
As the 2011 campaign season emerged, the bragging-rights campaigns were activated. Then came the polls. Tongues wagged, bets were waged and predictions made.
Dalley promised his victory at the polls this time around would silence JLP Chairman Mike Henry, who had predicted his colleague would prevail in the face of the naysayers.
Broderick was not exactly silent as he in turn vowed he would then silence The Gleaner's pollster, Bill Johnson.