Conservative candidate John Lamont, seeking re-election as the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, has told supporters he faces a “very tight contest” on May 5.
The 39-year-old lawyer makes the prediction in a letter to the local party faithful, appealing for cash to fund his campaign for the Scottish parliamentary elections.
And it is clear from the missive that he considers the SNP’s Paul Wheelhouse as his main rival.
“I am asking you to consider making a donation towards my campaign to defeat the nationalists in the Borders,” says Mr Lamont.
“The importance of defeating the SNP in this area means I need to ensure my campaign is funded to match the resources of the nationalists.
“If you are able to make a donation, then you will have my personal assurance that every penny will be spent on ensuring a win in this constituency.”
Earlier in his letter– Mr Lamont alludes to last year’s general election when, despite marginally increasing his share of the vote in Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, he was defeated by the SNP’s Calum Kerr.
“All the opinion polls suggest this is one of only a handful of constituencies in Scotland where it is still competitive.
“The SNP will be pouring huge resources into this seat in an attempt to win every constituency in Scotland and use it as a mandate to call for a second independence referendum.
Mr Lamont and Mr Wheelhouse have already clashed over figures suggesting an independent Scotland would be worse off had there been a Yes vote in the 2015 referendum.
Mr Lamont, first elected as an MSP for the former Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat in 2007, had 5,334 votes to spare over Mr Wheelhouse at the 2011 polls.