Tue, Sep 28, 2010 - Page 3 News List

DPP worried over Taichung race

PLAYING CATCH-UPThe DPP is concerned that the momentum of its Greater Taichung candidate, Su Jia-chyuan, is slowing for him to overtake Jason Hu

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER , TAICHUNG

Democratic Progressive Party Greater Taichung mayoral candidate Su Jia-chyuan, center, and other guests show their support for the party’s Taichung City Council candidate Wu Min-chi, second right, at the grand opening of Wu’s campaign office yesterday.

PHOTO: OU SU-MEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) will have to work harder if he hopes to defeat Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) in November, senior DPP officials said yesterday.

In its latest survey earlier this month, the Chinese-language daily China Times showed Hu with a 6-point lead, which represents an impressive showing by the DPP candidate, who was more accustomed to trailing by double digits.

However, there are concerns that the momentum is slowing and that the “golden intersection” — referring to the point at which Su would be close to overtaking Hu in the polls — may come too late for the Nov. 27 elections, which are just two months away.

DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said the opposition party expected to send more party officials and logistical support to Taichung in coming weeks.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), a chief election strategist for the DPP, arrived in the city last week to aid Su's campaign full time.

“We will quicken our pace in Greater Taichung,” Wu said. “Hu has been mayor for the last nine years; it's time for a change.”

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has traditionally done well in Taichung city and county, an area that will become known as Greater Taichung after the special municipality elections.

In 2005, Hu obtained 58.3 percent of the vote against 39 percent for DPP candidate Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), a former Cabinet spokesperson.

In Taichung County, incumbent commissioner Huang Chung-sheng (黃仲生) took 59.5 percent of the vote against 39.1 percent for former DPP legislator Chiu Tai-san (邱太三).

Last weekend, the DPP held its annual party celebrations in Taichung, attracting thousands to hear speeches by DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), in a move designed to give the DPP candidate a boost.

The last-minute decision to cast Su, who has prior experience as minister of the interior and Council of Agriculture minister, over Lin was designed to appeal to voters in Taichung City, who are perceived to be more interested in law and order, and those in Taichung County, whose focus is more on farming.

“We recognize we may need to do better in Taichung County. The best-case scenario would be if voters chose the DPP as they did in the 2004 presidential election,” Wu said. “This is what we need to work toward. We cannot just sit down and wait for it to happen.”

Wu said that based on prior election experience, encouraging residents — especially younger voters — to show up and vote would increase the opposition party's chances.

“No matter where in Taiwan, younger voters usually choose the DPP,” but these are types of voters who usually have the lowest turnout,” Wu said.

“Our policy is to think of a method that will encourage them to show up at the polling stations,” Wu said.

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