In a toss-up race between incumbent NDP Shannon Phillips and UCP candidate Karri Flatla, the vote difference between these two candidates in Lethbridge-West varied by only a few dozen ballots for much of the night. However, with a close vote count — and 1,751 “vote anywhere” advance ballots still to be counted later this week — the official winner wasn’t declared by press time. This Lethbridge constituency turned NDP orange in 2015, when the party swept away a 44-year Progressive Conservative rule in Alberta. The riding had voted for the PCs for 40 years prior to Phillips’ win, after which she went on to serve as minister of environment and parks, as well as minister responsible for the status of women in the Alberta cabinet.
UCP candidate Leela Aheer handily retained her seat as MLA, beating Freedom Conservative Party leader Derek Fildebrandt in the riding of Chestermere-Strathmore. This constituency’s boundaries were redrawn since the last provincial election and saw two MLAs battle to take hold of the riding just east of Calgary. Aheer and Fildebradnt won seats in 2015 for the Wildrose Party in Chestermere Rocky View and Strathmore Brooks, respectively. Fildebrandt formed the FCP last June after leaving the UCP and positioned his party as a healthy alternative for conservatives unhappy with leader Jason Kenney’s rule. Early results showed the FCP garnering fewer votes than the NDP and Alberta Party.
UCP outcast and independent MLA Rick Strankman was ousted in a landslide vote welcoming Nate Horner to a win in Alberta’s dinosaur country. Horner, the UCP candidate, will continue the riding’s right-wing hold; former Wildrose member Strankman had won the riding in 2012 and held onto his seat in 2015. Horner is the latest member of his family’s political clan to make his mark in Alberta after winning the UCP nomination over Strankman when the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party joined forces. Strankman quit the UCP to run as an independent because he didn’t agree with the party’s top-down approach.
Red Deer-South voted to go back to its roots, electing UCP candidate Jason Stephan as its MLA after chosing NDP candidate Barb Miller four years ago. The riding was traditionally represented by conservatives until Miller made history during the NDP orange crush in 2015. She was the first MLA elected to the riding, which had been firmly held by Progressive Conservatives since 1986. Candidates also shut out by the UCP win were Teah-Jay Cartwright of the Freedom Conservative Party, Lori Curran of the Green Party of Alberta and Ryan McDougall of the Alberta Party.
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