'Davis is the winner'
Former beef producer rep tops Kemmere in first, second count
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011 06:00 am
The former chair of the Alberta Beef Producers will carry the PC Party banner for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills in the next provincial election.
Acme-area producer rep Darcy Davis scored a decisive win Saturday night at the Didsbury Multiplex in a competitive race with former Mountain View County reeve Al Kemmere.
Davis finished on top after the first count of the ballots with 515 votes compared to Kemmere’s 424 and Carstairs accountant William Stevenson’s 216.
After Stevenson’s second-choice votes were counted, Davis cruised ahead to win the contest with 593 votes compared to Kemmere’s 457.
“Davis is the winner with 55.9 per cent of the vote,” nomination chair Pat James announced to the crowd of candidate supporters who stayed until after 10 p.m. to hear the results.
“It’s such an honour and it’s so humbling at the same time,” Davis, 50, told the applauding crowd after Stevenson and Kemmere had made brief speeches thanking their campaign teams.
Davis thanked the two candidates, as well as their wives Kathy Kemmere and Bev Stevenson, before calling his “better half” Nora up to the stage. He also thanked retiring MLA Richard Marz and paid tribute to “two people who couldn’t be here” – his late father and his father-in-law Joe McCool, who urged Davis to run for the nomination before he died in August.
“I’m gonna work my butt off,” Davis pledged. “We gotta move things forward – we can’t be about just one issue or one area.”
“I think Darcy is going to be a good leader for us,” Kemmere said afterwards, adding that he hoped to be part of Davis’s campaign team.
“We discussed in the last three, four weeks that it was going to be a close race. We now know that we had support and I wanna take that support and move it over to Darcy.”
On a more personal note, Kemmere said: “Democracy is neat, but democracy hurts sometimes … But the people have spoken.”
With a total of 1,155 ballots cast, “the turnout was fantastic,” Kemmere said. “Today it was huge.”
James called the total “a record I’m sure for this constituency” and returning officer Jordan Cleland said the numbers exceeded the constituency turnout for last month’s leadership election by 400-450 votes.
The breakdown for regional polls, Cleland said, was 207 ballots cast in Beiseker and 138 in Three Hills the previous week, and about 123 ballots cast in Cremona and 687 in Didsbury on Saturday.
With Davis having higher name recognition on the east side of the constituency, Nora Davis admitted she had been “a little worried about the high turnout” of voters in Didsbury, but was pleased with the outcome.
“We had a good team,” she said.
Marz, who lives in Three Hills, said Davis was simply “the choice of the people.”
“I don’t think it’s important where you live and that was evident with the people (voting) today. It wasn’t a geographic thing.”
Wild Rose MP Blake Richards was also present at the end of the night to congratulate Davis on his win.
Pointing to Davis’s past role as president of the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance, Richards described Davis as a consensus builder.
“Darcy will be really strong on ag issues, trade issues; he will be strong on intergovernmental affairs. I think he’s someone who will listen and represent the people,” Richards said.
Nora Davis echoed Richards’ comments when asked to name her husband’s biggest asset.
“I think he’s a good listener,” she said. “He’s done a lot of town hall meetings, so he knows how to take the information and bring it back to the people and explain it.”