Alberta Party has sobering night as leader Stephen Mandel crushed, all ridings lost

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel could not save the party as it lost all three ridings it held when the writ dropped and he was a distant third in Edmonton-McClung, beaten by NDP incumbent Lorne Dach.

The former Edmonton mayor and Progressive Conservative cabinet minister lost the southwest riding to Dach who held more than 43 per cent of the vote by 9:30 p.m. Mandel was running in third place with just over 21 per cent of the vote, as UCP candidate Laurie Mozeson held second with 34 per cent.

It was a silent scene at the party’s Edmonton headquarters as results started to pour in. Mandel arrived at the Creative Hive, 16745 111 Ave., location shortly after 9:30 p.m.

Other Alberta Party hopefuls lost races south of Edmonton, including incumbents Rick Fraser in the riding of Calgary-South East where UCP candidate Matt Jones appeared to be winning by a landslide and Greg Clark in Calgary-Elbow looked to be toppled by UCP candidate Doug Schweitzer.

The Alberta Party has never secured a seat in Edmonton.

Heading into the election, the centrist party had three seats with Karen McPherson holding the seat in Calgary-Mackay-Nosehill. McPherson, who crossed the floor after leaving the NDP in October 2017, didn’t run for re-election.

Mandel took the reins of the party in February 2018 after Clark stepped down as leader. The former PC MLA won the leadership race with 66 per cent of the vote.

This was the first election in which the party ran a full slate of candidates, campaigning as an alternative option to the left- and right-wing NDP and UCP frontrunners.

Although the party received more votes overall than the 2.29 per cent in 2015, it failed to capitalize on close races in the battlegrounds of Edmonton and Calgary.

The party platform focused on diversifying the economy with investment in forestry, innovation and film industries. Mandel also promised to amend the carbon tax by only collecting from heavy emitters and not the entire population.

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