For Lorne

There's a chance the provincial New Democrats could lose the by-election in Vancouver-Fairview. But they should win the by-election in Vancouver-Burrard, which was narrowly held by Liberal Lorne Mayencourt in 2005. The New Democrats are running headlining Coalition of Progressive Electors park board member Spencer Herbert as their candidate in that riding. Mr. Herbert, who is openly gay, was voted "one of Vancouver's three best politicians" in 2007 by Georgia Straight readers and an "Unsung Hero" in 2008 by WestEnder readers. And he should receive heavy support from Vancouver-Burrard's queer community.

Of course, Liberal candidate Arthur Griffiths is equally if not better known to voters, being the former owner of the Vancouver Grizzlies and Canucks. And his business background may appeal to residents of the riding's upscale and growing Yaletown and Coal Harbour neighbourhoods.

But that background is also a liability, having been notably savaged by The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer. In a column published back in May, Mr. Palmer reminded readers how Mr. Griffiths "got over his head financially in the mid-'90s and lost the family sports empire - hockey team, basketball team, stadium - to Seattle billionaire John McCaw."

Mr. Griffiths will also, undoubtedly, be weighed down by the Liberal's recent political troubles - which have put the party three percentage points behind the New Democrats. This, according to an August survey by Angus Reid Strategies Inc. The announcement of Premier Gordon Campbell's ten point economic plan last week could give some buoyancy to the Liberals' poll numbers. But it might not be enough to prevent Mr. Griffiths' candidacy getting deep-sixed on Wednesday.

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