The battle for Aberdeen South was shaping up to be one of the more brutal contests in Scotland, with the SNP preparing to fight hard to wrestle the Westminster seat back from one of their biggest detractors.
However, with Ross Thomson’s decision to step down ahead of December’s poll, following accusations that he sexually assaulted a fellow MP, much of the heat of the pre-election campaign has dissipated.
The new Tory candidate, city council co-leader Douglas Lumsden, has said he is keen to fight a “positive” campaign, while his opponents are equally focused on the issues.
Aberdeen South was a Liberal Democrat stronghold at Holyrood between 1999-2011, but the area went for the SNP in its landslide victory in the 2011 Scottish election and in 2015 long-serving Labour MP Anne Begg also fell to the nationalists.
Much like the rest of the north-east in 2017, momentum swung to the Tories and Mr Thomson claimed the seat with an impressive 42% vote share.
Bordering the River Dee, the constituency includes part of the city centre and Union Street.
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It consists of some of Scotland’s most affluent communities – Peterculter, Bieldside, Cults, parts of Ferryhill and the city’s west end – which contrast with more traditional working-class areas of Torry, Nigg and Kincorth.
The constituency is also the base for several energy firms, located in industrial parks in Altens and Tullos, while Aberdeen harbour is one of the UK’s busiest ports, serving the oil and gas sector with trading links to more than 40 countries worldwide.
The constituency rejected Scottish independence in 2014 and the Tories were able to capitalise on that message successfully in 2017.
This time around the campaign is relying heavily on the “say no to indyref2” message, but Tories have also been keen to offer a number of policies that will directly benefit the region at this election.
At the party’s manifesto launch this week there were promises of tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and pledges to move forward with the roll out of freeports, Aberdeen of course being one of the potential sites for a freeport.
Mr Lumsden said the strong manifesto offers, in addition previous commitments on the Aberdeen city deal and indyref2 had put the party in a good position.
He said: “We’re not being complacent at all, but we’re getting round and speaking to people and our vote does seem to be holding up quite well.
“People are seeing the damage up here from the SNP with business rates at a local level and what Labour would do to the oil and gas industry with their windfall tax, our message is that if you want avoid the damage of Corbyn and Sturgeon then vote for the Scottish Tories.”
Asked if the Tories could hold Aberdeen South, after a turbulent few years, he said: “Look, Ross is not being mentioned that much at all, we’re fighting a positive campaign on the issues.”
Fellow city councillor Stephen Flynn, who is contesting the seat for the SNP, dismissed the idea that the Tory pledges would be enough to persuade voters come December 12 however and pointed Brexit as a key influencer.
Research from think-tank Centre for Cities has projected that Aberdeen will be the UK’s worst affected city when it comes to the economic repercussions of Brexit.
The city would see economic output reduced by 3.7% in the event of a hard Brexit, the research found.
Mr Flynn said: “Brexit is dominating the agenda in Aberdeen as it’s going to be the hardest hit place, we want to stop that and escape this chaos.
“The city has also been hammered by low wages, universal credit, benefit sanctions and austerity for a decade. People have had enough.”
Lib Dem candidate Ian Yuill was hoping for a bounce in support based on the fact his party is in step with the constituency on the twin constitutional issues of Brexit and independence.
He said: “People are very worried about Brexit and the prospect of another independence referendum, so are we. We are the only party which is committed to to stopping both.”
It is, however, likely to be a straight fight between the SNP and Tories on election day, with a close result on the cards.
In the end it will perhaps come down to which constitutional issue – independence or Brexit – is more of an influencer.
Prediction: SNP gain