Thanks to Gerry 'just asking questions' Brownlee, the rest of New Zealand is waking up to what we in the Bay of Plenty knew already: The race for the East Coast is one of the hottest tickets in town.
National's deputy leader put the electorate in the spotlight this week when he accused Labour of doing "dodgy" push-polling then leaking the results to media in a "desperate" attempt to "get candidates over the line".
Labour rejected the accusation and defended the result showing its candidate Kiri Allan on 40.5 per cent, leading National's Tania Tapsell on 35 per cent.
It's hard to see the release of favourable Labour internal polling as anything but the party's cry for attention on a seat many may not have realised could be marginal.
It has been a blue seat since National MP Anne Tolley nicked it off Labour in 2005 in a situation not unlike the one we are watching unfold today.
Long-serving MP Janet Mackey of Labour retired and coasters decided to give Tolley a shot.
Fifteen years later, Tolley is the one retiring, having served 34 years in politics in total, and some signs are pointing to history repeating itself.
The close race may have also escaped attention because National tends to dominate the rest of the electorates in the wider Bay of Plenty region - Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua.
Senior MPs for the party, including 2/3 recent leaders, have served for multiple terms in each.
It would not be a stretch to call this National Party heartland.
Brownlee said leaking the East Coast poll made Labour look "desperate", but his oddly specific attack reeked of worry from his own team about a "safe" seat suddenly looking a bit shaky.
His accusation was framed around suggestive "serious questions" and whisps of circumstantial "evidence".
Brownlee previously got himself into what he called a "bad spot" over his conspiracy-esque questioning of the Government over the release of Covid-19 information in August.
Certainly, the script used by Labour's pollsters didn't sound like a push poll. The questions were multi-choice, neutrally phrased and covered multiple topics.
There were no obvious red flags for the deceptive polling method that has been seen in elections in Australia and the United States. It all seemed pretty standard stuff.
Without hard proof, Brownlee's charge won't stick.
But in an election the polls portray as all but decided, pundits seeking a less predictable race will be keeping a close eye on the battle for the East Coast.
Both Tapsell and Allan have been pegged as rising political stars.
In spite of their different styles, each, in their own way, comes off as fresh, positive, authentic - and hungry for the win.
If you're feeling despondent after watching an angry 74-year-old man constantly interrupt an exasperated 77-year-old man in the first US presidential debate, seek out videos of these two wahine instead; you might find the political antidote you need.
Maketū's Tapsell may - allegedly - be trailing in Labour's poll but she still has the air of a winner, because she is one.
Elected to Rotorua Lakes Council at 21, she has topped the polls in two elections and made headlines for winning more votes than re-elected mayor Steve Chadwick, former Labour MP, last year.
The 28-year-old deftly deals with questions in interviews, an absolute pro. The only time I have seen her stumped is in a Local Focus election profile video where she is asked to name a favourite Kiwi business person: "Oooooo" she says, doing what I am going to call a 'light shimmy'. "I don't know."
With a background in business, finance, tourism and seven years in the sometimes brutal and petty world of local government, she has the experience and steely core to step up to the big league.
Best known in Rotorua, she has a bit of a name recognition hurdle in the East Coast, but there's a family name to trade on as the great-niece of Sir Peter Tapsell, a Labour MP for Eastern Māori in the 80s and 90s and the first Māori Speaker of the House.
Her ranking of 64 on National's List means winning the electorate seat is her only realistic ticket into Parliament this term.
If she misses out, ratepayers will surely welcome her back, and if they can forgive her temporary seeking of greener pastures, a mayoral run might be a next.
At 27 on the Labour list, Gisborne-based Allan should be in with a grin, electorate seat or not.
She will have the advantage of three years as a list MP under her belt, the youngest female Labour MP currently in Parliament.
She's a junior whip, in all the cool caucuses - Māori, women, Rainbow - and she may or may not have been the subject of an hot-mic f-bomb from (allegedly) then-future National Party leader Judith Collins on a Zoom call back in June.
An accidental politician of sorts, Allan took a turn as a Wellington lawyer before moving home to the East Coast to get her hands dirty in the primary sector then switching to politics.
Her party profile says she's into "turning dirt into decent jobs" and in an electorate with shockingly high levels of socioeconomic deprivation - some of New Zealand's worst - what is needed more than that?
In a previous column, I placed a tentative bet on Allan but she doesn't have it in the bag by any bet.
There is a lot more riding on this election than the next three years.
In the recent past, this electorate has rewarded successful MPs from both Labour and National with long terms, waiting for the incumbent to step down before considering a new representative.
The winner of the East Coast seat in this election could camp out in it for years.
Watch this space.