Esquimalt Juan de Fuca riding was one of the closest in the country with Keith Martin winning over Troy DeSousa by only 67 votes out of 58,631 cast in the election.
The riding has been around since 1988 when it was won by Dave Barrett of the NDP. Dave Barrett is the only candidate to ever get a majority of the vote in any of the seven elections held in the riding.
The next six elections were all won by Keith Martin, in 1993 and 1997 a Reform, 2000 as Canadian Alliance and in the last three elections as a Liberal. In 1993 he won over Dave Barrett with only 35.3% of the vote. Dave Barrett managed 27.2% and the Liberal 21.5%. The rise in the Liberal vote in 1993 was more than the margin Martin defeated Barrett by.
In 1997 Keith Martin increased his margin taking him to 43.4% of the vote, this mainly happened through the PC vote being squeezed. The Liberals and NDP swapped positions but maintained a combined 49% of the total vote. Martin benefited from there being a strong New Democrat and Liberal running.
In 2000 as a Canadian Alliance candidate Keith Martin managed to peak at 49.7% of the vote. The Liberal slipped a bit but the NDP dropped to their lowest number ever with 13.4% of the vote. Keith Martin had arrived as the iconoclastic politician he has become known as.
It is in the 2004 election that we have Keith Martin running as a Liberal after leaving the newly formed Conservative party. His vote also dropped dramatically by making the move to the Liberals. He finished less than five percentage points ahead of Randall Garrison of the NDP. The Conservative was not that far behind even though John Koury's campaign was very personal against his old boss Martin because Martin betrayed him and crossed the floor without letting him know anything was coming.
2006 was Garrison versus Martin again with the addition of Troy DeSousa for the Conservatives. Martin dropped and Garrison and De Sousa rose but not enough to make Randall Garrison in the MP.
2008 Martin and DeSousa were back by Garrison was not. The NDP vote dropped a lot, I suspect many of NDP supporters voted for Martin out of fear Troy DeSousa would win, it worked and Keith Martin just barely manage to win.
So that is the history of the riding, what does this mean for 2011?
First off, Lillian Szpak of the Liberals has no hope of any success. The 2004, 06, 08 elections were votes for Keith Martin and not the Liberals. I suspect she will manage around 25% of the vote.
Randall Garrison is back for the NDP and I would doubt that he is going to get less than he did in 2006. I put him on about 34-35%.
Troy DeSousa is back for the Conservatives and I do not see his vote dropping, I also see him at 35-36%.
My current estimate is that the race is a very close between Troy DeSousa and Randall Garrison. The question will become which party can pull in more Liberal votes, the NDP or the Conservatives. Both parties have a ceiling to their vote of about 50% each. Both campaigns have to target the Liberal voters and push them to vote strategically.