AFTER two weeks of unbroken sunshine on the day of the Scottish Parliamentary elections the heavens opened, but the gloomy weather did not dent the cautious optimism of those seeking election to Holyrood.
For the last six weeks the four candidates for the Galloway and West Dumfries: Labour’s Willie Scobie, Conservative candidate Alex Fergusson, the SNP’s Aileen McLeod and Liberal Democrat candidate Joe Rosiejak, have all been tramping the streets of towns and villages region wide over the past few weeks campaigning.
But yesterday was decision day for the voters and the four candidates could do no more after 10pm last night when the ballot boxes were locked and the counting began in Dumfries.
Labour’s Willie Scobie told The Galloway Gazette yesterday morning: “We have had a tremendous response from the public we have meet on the doorstep during our campaign. We have tried to cover much of the area from Dumfries to Stranraer and the issues that concern most people are jobs and training, especially for the 18 to 25 age group. So many of the age are unemployed and we have got to do something.
“The other issue is people living to 90 and over and we want to prioritise the public services they need.
“I have been amazed at the level of support we have got but it will be a tight contest. I hope the rain doesn’t put people off from turning out to vote!”
Tory candidate Alex Fergusson said: “It has been very long campaign for various reasons and I think everyone is ready for it to come to an end. I have been comfortable with how it’s gone and I have been very well received on the doorstep.
“So I am hopeful of a positive result this evening but I realise the other parties have fought very hard so I am also prepared for an upset.
“But the last six weeks is not what makes or breaks a campaign and hopefully the last eight years work I have done will stand me in good stead.”
Aileen McLeod, SNP candidate said: “The SNP has run a positive and constructive campaign for Galloway and West Dumfries and I’ve been greatly encouraged by the positive response we’ve been receiving right across the constituency.
“Galloway has a history of close results and I am taking nothing for granted: we will be working hard throughout the day until polls close encouraging people to vote SNP to make Galloway part of a better Scotland.”
Bill Mitchell on behalf of Liberal democrat Joe Rosiejak said: “Our campaigning has been popular with the voters especially our stance on protecting local services and the police force and the decentralisation of economic development and tourism. Whether that transfers into votes, I don’t know. We will just have to wait for the result.
“As always in this constituency the first past the post system completely squews how people vote. If we had a differemnt system we would get a different result.”