Margin: Labor 0.6%
Region: Western Suburbs
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Ashford is located immediately south-west of the city centre, extending from Keswick and Goodwood at the city’s edge to Cumberland Park and Clarence Gardens in the south, and through Plympton to Novar Gardens in the west. Retained by Labor at the 2010 election by a 4.8% margin in the face of a 10.5% swing, the redistribution has left it on a knife edge by adding Liberal-leaning areas in the south (Cumberland Park’s 1800 voters from Waite and 2200 voters in Clarence Gardens and Plympton Park from Elder) and west (2600 voters in Novar Gardens and Camden Park from West Torrens, and a further 1300 in Novar Gardens from Morphett), while hiving off the electorate’s Labor-voting northern end (7000 voters around Richmond going to West Torrens and nearly 1000 voters in Wayville going to Unley).
Ashford was created at the 2002 election in place of abolished Hanson, which had been oriented further to the west. Hanson was traditionally a Liberal seat until the 1993 election when it absorbed much of abolished Walsh, prompting Liberal incumbent Heini Becker to jump ship to its northern neighbour Peake (now West Torrens). Stewart Leggett was nonetheless able to win Hanson for the Liberals in the 1993 landslide by a 1.2% margin over Labor’s member for Walsh, John Trainer. Ashford was back in the Labor fold at the 1997 election after a 7.5% swing, despite the complication of Trainer polling 19.1% as an independent.
Ashford has since been held for Labor by Stephanie Key, who secured her hold on the seat with a 12.4% swing in 2006 before suffering a 10.4% correction in 2010. Key served in cabinet during the first term of the Rann government, first in social justice, housing, youth and the status of women before exchanging social justice and housing for employment, training and further education in March 2004. Despite her strong electoral performance in 2006, she was dropped from cabinet in the post-election reshuffle, with her Left faction resolving to elevate newcomers Jennifer Rankine, Gail Gago and Paul Caica.
The Liberal candidate at the coming election is Terina Monteagle, a business analyst and project manager associated with the state party’s moderate faction. Monteagle won preselection ahead of Simon Le Poidevin, an Army Reserve officer and former prosecutor.
All post-redistribution margins are as calculated by Jenni Newton-Farrelly of the South Australian Parliamentary Library. Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.