There is no doubt Ferdinand Marcos Junior will win big in Ilocos Norte, the family’s political bailiwick. Since the American colonial period, only one family has dominated the province, which has remained poor.

Junior’s grandfather, Mariano, was a congressman during the American colonial period from 1925 to 1931 and was an official during the Japanese occupation. He was executed by guerrillas for collaborating with the Japanese as its propagandist.

In 1949, Junior’s father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was elected congressman of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte. He never lost an election, becoming senator in 1959 and rising to the presidency in 1965.

Junior was first elected congressman in 1992, a year after the government allowed the Marcos family to return to the country after the strongman was toppled from power in 1986.

He lost in his first attempt to win a seat in the Senate in 1995 but returned to power as governor of Ilocos Norte in 1998. He returned to Congress in 2007 after serving three terms as governor.

In 2010, he won a seat in the Senate. He lost to Vice President Leonor Robredo in 2016.

His mother, Imelda, who is infamously known for owning 3,000 pairs of shoes and expensive collections of jewelry and art works, was also congresswoman in Leyte and Ilocos Norte while his elder sister, Imee, was congresswoman for Ilocos Norte at that time Junior was governor. She replaced her brother as governor in 2010 when he returned to Congress. She was elected senator in 2019.

The Marcos family has dominated Ilocos Norte for nearly 100 years. Imee’s son is now the provincial governor and Junior’s son is running for a congressional seat — the fourth generation Marcos in power in Ilocos Norte.

It is expected Junior will win in Ilocos Norte in May 2022 but it is doubtful he will get 100 percent of the less than 300,000 votes as the Marcos family faces tough opposition from another Ilocos Norte political stalwart, Rodolfo Fariñas, who will challenge Matthew Marcos Manotoc, Imee’s son.

It is doubtful if Fariñas will support Junior in the elections. His daughter Ria, the incumbent congresswoman in the first district of Ilocos Norte, will be challenged by Junior’s eldest son, Sandro.

The Fariñas family could take away votes from the Marcoses in the province, shattering the myth of a “Solid North.”

In Ilocos Sur, the political kingpin, Chavit Singson, has aligned with the tandem of Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III after he joined the Senate President’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party several months back.

Junior will win in the province but he could not get 100 percent as well as in the other Ilocano province — La Union. It is also doubtful if Junior will win big in the Cordillera and in the Cagayan Valley region.

For instance, one of Robredo’s senatorial candidates, Teodoro Baguilat, is the former Ifugao governor and congressman. He could deliver votes to Marcos’s closest rival, the vice president.

But Junior’s presidential bid will get a boost from his alliances with traditional politicians, like former presidents Gloria Arroyo and Joseph Estrada and President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Carpio.

Junior also benefited from Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s withdrawal from the political contest as some of his supporters could shift to the Marcos-Carpio tandem.

But the president’s tirades against Junior could turn off Duterte’s die-hard supporters and wait for the presidential aspirant he would endorse.

What is clear is that Sara will have better chances than Junior because she will get support from both Duterte and Marcos followers, including the loyal armies of Arroyo and Estrada.

Voters in Mindanao, particularly in Muslim provinces, will not support Junior in the elections. Junior has weak support in the south and in the Visayas. He could win in Leyte but the Western Visayas region will overwhelmingly vote against him as shown by past results.

Boxing icon Sen. Emmanuel Pacquaio will win more votes in the Visayas and Mindanao than Junior. Robredo will also have strong support in the Liberal Party’s bailiwicks in western and eastern Visayas.

Junior has strong support in central Luzon and in the Metro Manila region but Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso will give him a tough time getting the majority of the votes.

Batangas and Quezon provinces will be the battleground provinces. In 2016, these two provinces went for Robredo in the vice-presidential contest.

But Sen. Ralph Recto’s support to Isko would make it difficult for Robredo to dominate Batangas province. The Bicol region is expected to support Robredo.

In 2016, Junior won in all Metro Manila cities and towns except Taguig where Alan Peter Cayetano won. It is doubtful if Junior can repeat a big win in the National Capital Region.

Manila will go to Isko and former mayor Jejomar Binay, who is aligned with the Lacson-Sotto tandem, will deliver Makati votes to the Reporma standard-bearer. It is also doubtful if Vico Sotto’s Pasig will back Junior. Taguig will support Sara but the Cayetanos are staunchly anti-Marcos.

Based on unofficial public opinion polls, Junior has almost 60 percent voter preference in the fourth quarter surveys. But election victory is still uncertain because the actual campaign has not started.

Support for Junior remains soft but his chances of winning, based on the surveys, are higher. In 2016, Junior was ahead in the opinion polls in March but lost in the elections.

In 2016, he had more solid support in the Ilocos and capital regions. But the situation has changed. The so-called Solid North has been broken by local political interests. Ilocos Norte’s contests are interesting to watch. The May 2022 elections are not in the bag.