The by-election in Tunbridge Wells East to elect a replacement for Kevin Lynes on Kent County Council could be a close contest. The voting at the May elections in the three Tunbridge Wells Borough Council wards which make up the county division produced the following:
Conservative: 1543, Liberal Democrat 1225, UKIP 1041, Independent 836, Labour 646.
The Green Party is contesting the by-election. It is not possible to extrapolate the borough results into a prediction of the outcome of the by-election, the reason being that in the borough election in Pembury two seats were up for grabs and the Independent won with 836 votes. A Conservative came second with 736 votes. Third place went to the Conservatives with 506 votes and UKIP came fourth with 505 votes. The Liberal Democrats secured 312 votes. UKIP and the Liberal Democrats both fielded only one candidate. How did people who voted Independent, Liberal Democrat or UKIP use their second vote?
A Green or Labour win can be discounted, but what of the others? The Liberal Democrats had a massive hold in St James, came a poor last in Sherwood and with 312 votes were well behind UKIP in Pembury. UKIP came a strong second in Sherwood and last in St James.
The Liberal Democrats are mounting a strong campaign and have the Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council as their candidate. UKIP will be hoping to cash in on their success in Rusthall in ousting the Conservative Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
The Conservative candidate contested St James at the borough election and came a distant second.
It should be a Conservative hold, but who am I to judge? After all, I predicted the Conservatives would hold on in Rusthall.