Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills elects its first Wildrose MLA
For the first time in 15 years, the provincial Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills constituency will be represented by a member of the legislative assembly from a party other than the Progressive Conservative Party.
With the ballots from 76 out of 78 polling stations counted, the Wildrose Party’s Bruce Rowe was in the lead with 9,302 votes, with Progressive Conservative Darcy Davis coming in second with 6,010 votes.
NDP’s Kristie Krezanoski was slightly ahead of Liberal Garth Davis, 537 to Davis’s 505.
Rowe says he is ready to go to Edmonton and be the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA.
"We are pretty ecstatic. My team did a wonderful job and as a result of that, here I am,” said Rowe after a speech in front of supporters last night.
Since its formation in 1997 from the merging of parts of the Olds-Didsbury and Three Hills-Airdrie constituencies, the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills Consituency has been represented by PC MLA Richard Marz.
Marz announced his retirement last year and resigned from the posting prior to the election being called March 26.
Provincially, the Tories won a majority government beating out close contender the Wildrose Party. By 11 p.m. last night the Tories were leading in 62 electoral divisions, the Wildrose in 17, while the NDP and Liberals were leading in four divisions each.
Rowe said that PC candidate Darcy Davis had been his closest competitor.
“They’re the sitting government,” he said.
“It’s always tougher to beat the incumbents.”
Rowe said Davis ran an excellent campaign.
“We had agreed before we started this, between the two of us campaigns, we agreed that we would run a clean, upfront campaign,” he said.
“That has held true.”
PC candidate Darcy Davis conceded that voters in the riding switched their allegiance to the Wildrose.
“People in the riding of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills have spoken and they’ve shown they’ve voted for change as far as party goes,” said Davis.
Despite conceding defeat, Davis said he ran a good campaign. He said people expressed concern about the proposed power line going through Central Alberta, among other issues.
“I think it went fine. We had a lot of people working really hard. I think there’s just a lot of contentious issues that people wanted to see change on,” he said.
Despite losing the riding, Davis said he was happy that the party would retain its majority.
“I think it’s great that Alison (Redford) will be the premier. I think she’ll keep the province moving into the future and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.
The Liberal candidate for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills said it was "no surprise that the Wildrose and PCs ran such a close race."
"My eyes were wide open," said Garth Davis. "I expected this. It makes for interesting Alberta politics."
Garth Davis was scrutineering at Calgary-Hawkwood at 9 p.m. on election night.
He explained that his goals going into the election included making the public aware of the problems with the PCs and the risks with the Wildrose. "I thought I would give the voters an alternative choice," he said.
He added that he wouldn't be running again. "I ran a couple of times in Innisfail, in the past," he said.
"The PC philosophy is still very strong," Garth Davis said. "This election is going to be what I thought it would be."