Several local familiar faces hit the campaign trail

Local candidates hit the ground running Wednesday with the election now fully underway.

BARRIE-SPRINGWATER-ORO-MEDONTE

York University's visiting professor of politics, Michael Johns, says this riding is one to watch.

"That would be the riding, the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte where you have two very big names going up against one another."

Conservative incumbent Doug Downey vows to knock on all 40,000 doors in the riding to get face-to-face with voters.

The Ontario PC, who serves as the province's Attorney General, is up against three-term Barrie mayor Jeff Lehman.

"He's got a good record as mayor," says Barrie resident Warren Reynolds.

However, Reynolds isn't interested in turning his riding red. "They [Liberals] screwed up too much, particularly with gas," he adds.

Peter Lowry means to throw his support behind his longtime mayor, saying he hasn't been impressed with Downey.

"Doug Downey, who has represented us for the last four years, hasn't represented us at all," says the Barrie man. "He's rarely here and has done nothing for the riding.

PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA

The Tories hope to hold power in Muskoka with longtime Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith.

Smith's PC colleague, Norm Miller, is retiring from his seat at Queen's Park after 20 years as MPP.

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Huntsville resident Dan Powers says Smith has his vote.

"He's dialled in on the issues," says Powers. "Quite frankly, he's a policy expert, and he's just a really great guy. He's active in his community. He's a great dad. He's the kind of guy you want to have a beer with."

But voter Paul Stueck says he's ready for something new, looking to cast his vote for Matt Richter.

"The Conservatives will probably get in here because it's a Conservative riding, but I'm thinking I'm going to vote Green. Fresh new ideas."

SIMCOE GREY

PC candidate Brian Saunderson hopes his term as Collingwood mayor will earn him the votes in his riding as he tries to take the seat of longtime MPP Jim Wilson.

SIMCOE NORTH

Progressive Conservative candidate Jill Dunlop hopes to hold onto Simcoe North.

BARRIE-INNISFIL

Meanwhile, NDP candidate Pekka Reinio spent the day thanking residents for their support in the Barrie-Innisfil riding.

Reinio will take on Progressive Conservative incumbent Andrea Khanjin, who was a political newcomer in 2018.

POLITICAL FORECAST

Political expert Michael Johns expects many local ridings to be influenced by the provincial numbers, with a month of campaigning ahead.

"If things stay as they are at this exact moment, most of the other ridings, probably the Progressive Conservative candidates have an advantage," he notes.

The deadline to apply to vote by mail-in ballot is May 27.

Voters will head to the polls on Thurs., June. 2.