It's entirely possible that olivia Chow and her machine may one day rue their victory in the Trinity-Spadina NDP nomination contest.
While the bitter run-off was won last week by the suave Helen Kennedy, by what some sources say was a mere 23 votes, Tam Goossen, with her more plodding ways and Chinese community backing, might have had a better chance of retaining the ward.
The Kennedy conquest has left a seething anger in Chinatown, including talk of tearing up membership cards and finding another candidate to back for the council seat.
Kevin Lee, exec director of Scadding Court Community Centre, was thought to be that person. "I've been inundated with calls," Lee says, "many of them from NDPers."
Lee says he's made up his mind not to run, but there's pressure on him to change his mind. If he doesn't, he says he wouldn't be surprised if someone else comes forward from the Chinese community.
If that's the case, Kennedy will have to fight for the support Goossen could have counted on, but she'll also be competing with TV personality Adam Vaughan for the hearts of the condo-dwelling hipster progressives.
Then there's the problem of mending the rift in the local party. The rancour directed at Chow for seemingly betraying a long-time ally with impressive political experience in favour of a latecomer crony isn't likely to dissipate in a hurry.
But the wily MP may have eased some of the backlash by getting a seal of approval for Kennedy from local icons former councillor and MP Dan Heap and his wife, Alice Heap.
The defining moment of the nomination meeting at Trinity-St. Paul's Church is clearly the sight of Olivia Chow waltzing down the aisle guiding the two party consciences to the front of the sanctum, where they take their seats amid explosions of flashing cameras.
The Heaps' arrival appears to throw Goossen, who delivers her remarks mere feet from them. The respected local activist stumbles in her speech, a shopping list of important but accepted concerns. (Hands up: who's opposed to energy conservation?)
Kennedy, on the other hand, takes a stab at inspiration with a speech relying heavily on the vision of recently departed Annex resident and city sage Jane Jacobs. "Magic in a thousand little miracles like community gardens and cleanup days," she offers.
Later, after the ballot collectors retire with the pieces of blue paper that record the choices of the 606 voters in the room, I join a gaggle of Goossen backers at the front.
"Olivia pulled out all the stops with the Heaps," I observe to one.
"We were ready for her to drag in the federal leader," he says with only half-mocking relief, referring to hubby Jack Layton.
This corner contains more than one NDPer from the sizable number of dissidents who form a Jack and Olivia anti-fan club, destined to get a little bigger after the events of the night. On hand for Goossen tonight is Pam McConnell, the city councillor who in one election had to beat off Peter Tabuns, backed by Layton and Chow to run against her.
And there's former school trustee John Campey, who pointedly boosted Manitoba's Bill Blaikie over the hometown fave in the federal leadership race.
Will the wounds of the evening heal easily? You wouldn't think so listening to party stalwart and Goossen backer Winnie Ng, who's heard bitter NDPers talk about forsaking their memberships. "I'm so angry," she tells me through clenched teeth after the meeting as she helps seniors into waiting vans for the ride home.
Ng says those at the top of the party don't appreciate the depth of ill feeling that lingers after the Goossen defeat. "Power makes people arrogant and self-absorbed, so they feel they have to manipulate and control everything.'
As for Chow, she'll be back on the hustings herself in a few months. If Kennedy doesn't carry the day, the newbie MP will have some explaining to do.