Confidence is running high among the candidates in the mayoral race in Portmore.

Incumbent, the PNP’s Leon Thomas, believes he’ll be returned to the office. But the JLP’s Markland ‘Action’ Edwards believes plans for a bright future are enough to sweep Thomas out of office.

Independent candidate, Howard Hamilton, says the major political parties have neglected Portmore and is offering himself as an alternative.

William Mitchell, takes a brief look at the historical voting behaviour in Portmore. It’s one of the keenest and most watched on local government election day.

Portmore became a municipality on June 19, 2003. It’s also the only municipality that directly elects its mayor.

The PNP’s George Lee was elected the first mayor of Portmore, beating the JLP’s Keith Hinds by 640 votes in 2003.

Hinds flipped the script in 2007, winning by 776 votes. Still, the PNP won six of 10 divisions to take the council.

In 2012, Lee came out of retirement to win re-election by 6,724 votes. The PNP also won all of the divisions in Portmore except Independence City.

When Lee died in 2013, then councillor for the Hellshire division, Leon Thomas, became acting mayor. Thomas won his own mandate in 2016, defeating the JLP’s Keith Blake by 1,782 votes.

Since 2003, the PNP has won every division in Portmore at least once. The exception is Independence City, which the JLP has never lost over the period.

The JLP can count Gregory Park as another stronghold. The only PNP win in the division was in 2012.

In the four elections since Portmore became a municipality, the PNP has never lost Braeton, Greater Portmore East, Hellshire, Waterford, Bridgeport or Edgewater.

The PNP also has strong recent history in Greater Portmore North, Portmore Pines and Southboro. Wins in Westchester are split two-to-two between the JLP and PNP.

Mayor Thomas says he’s confident of securing his second full term.

JLP challenger, Markland ‘Action’ Edwards, says he wants to transform Portmore into a Mecca.

Meanwhile, independent challenger in the race, Howard Hamilton, told the Jamaica Beacon, that he’s the candidate of choice for political change.