With long-time Te Atatu MP Chris Carter exiled to Afghanistan, the National Party's Tau Henare may feel his time has come to claim the west Auckland seat for the first time.
Henare, who calls himself the "West Side Tory", has been steadily scraping away at Carter's stranglehold on the electorate, reducing the gap from 11,000 votes in the 2003 general election to 4000 in 2008.
He will also be encouraged by a huge swing in support at the previous election, when the National Party claimed the party vote by 12 votes - the closest margin in the country.
In Henare's way is Labour Party list MP Phil Twyford, who has replaced Carter in the Te Atatu candidacy after coming second in the past two elections while standing in the North Shore.
The Oxfam New Zealand founder has served one term in Parliament, but his placing of 33 in this year's Labour Party list means his return to the Beehive is far from secure. A Herald DigiPoll survey last week predicted that Labour would get 36 seats.
After Carter was expelled from his party last year and left for a job in Kabul, Labour Party president Andrew Little said Carter's replacement would have to repair the damage done by his messy departure.
But despite Little's warning, a lot of goodwill remains in Te Atatu for Carter's work in 15 years as an MP.
Twyford knows he cannot take it for granted that this goodwill will automatically transfer to him. He plans to hold 100 street meetings in every corner of his electorate before November 26.
Last month, he attended a White Sunday event at the Samoan church in Te Atatu and sat patiently in his pew for the entire 3-hour service. Most of the congregation had never heard of Twyford, but were now voting for him.
Henare told the Herald the Te Atatu seat was now a level playing field, but he was wary of the support that remained for the Labour Party from Carter's time in the seat.
The former New Zealand First MP was one of the biggest losers in National's list reshuffle, falling 16 places to 40, but he should still ease into Parliament from there.
Two local issues are likely to define the election race in Te Atatu - transport and jobs.
Residents feel they have drawn Auckland's short straw in terms of roading and public transport.
The main rail network veers away from the area towards Helensville, and crippling congestion affects not only the Northwestern Motorway but most arterial roads.
Henare believes National's backing of the Western Corridor will win votes, but Twyford has tabled an alternative - a busway from Westgate to the city.
Te Atatu has also felt the pinch of the economic downturn more acutely than many areas, because its younger-than-average workforce is over-represented in retail, construction and trades.
The party with the most attractive job-creating policy is likely to win the vote from residents, who earn below the country's median income.
There are three other candidates for the Te Atatu seat, but the electorate has traditionally been a two-horse race.
No candidate outside the two main parties gained more than 4 per cent of the vote in the 2005 and 2008 elections.