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Friday, January 12, 2007

by-election nation!

It looks like there will be two and potentially three by-elections facing Albertans across Alberta in the next couple months.

On Monday, former Premier Ralph Klein has said he will resign as the MLA for Calgary Elbow (a riding he has represented since 1989). And yesterday, former Minister of Finance Shirley McClellan declared that she will resign as MLA for Drumheller-Stettler (McClellan has served as MLA since 1987 in it's previous recarnations of Chinook and Drumheller-Chinook).

McClellan's announcement comes as no surprise as she had previously declared that she would not seek re-election in the next General Election.

The surprise of the day came yesterday when it was reported that Edmonton Castle Downs PC MLA Thomas Lukaszuk may step down as MLA and run for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in Edmonton-St. Albert. Lukaszuk would be running against former Tory MP Scott Thorkelson and former Edmonton Calder MLA Brent Rathgeber in the race to replace retiring MP John Williams.

Lukaszuk was "re-elected" in 2004 by a court-decided margin of 3 votes against Liberal Chris Kibermanis.

Three potential by-elections would provide quite the mini-election and quite the thermometer in gauging the political feelings of Albertans since Tory Premier Ed Stelmach took the throne in December.

This should be exciting!

16 comments:

docsanchez said...

No matter your political stripe it will be very fun to watch. Let the race begin!

Anonymous said...

If all 3 byelections go ahead, expect the Alberta Liberals to win both urban seats.

Duncan said...

I think that is a stretch in Calgary-Elbow, I think it will be hard fought but certainly I don't have an expectation of a Liberal gain.

Anonymous said...

(Different Anon-poster here)

I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Libs could pickup Elbow. Klein didn't have spectacular numbers there last time around and the City is still pissed off about Ed's cabinent picks. It will depend largely on the candidates of the two parties, and may be close enough that votes lost to other (Alliance, NDP, Greens) could actually decide if it goes PC or Lib.

It should be a ton of fun to work in, regardless of which horse you back, and lots of fun for the observing masses as well.

In Castle Downs I expect that Chris Kibermanis will finally get the seat that he was unjustly denied after he won the last election. It probably won't be close, since I know a lot of the residents were upset that their choice was overturned by Tory friendly provincial justices.

And of course Drumheller will be a PC lock, unless someone spectacular runs for the Alliance. Since that has never happened up to this point, I doubt it's about to start happening...

jon said...

Castle Downs will go to Kibermanis again.

Elbow could be tight. Stelmach's stock isn't rising in Calgary. Taft's Liberals stand a good chance. It'll be a fight.

Drumheller-Stettler is solid Tory unless there is a strong right-wing challenge/split.

BR said...

I think the Liberals are serious contenders in Elbow. Hopefully that'll wake up the tory machine and give it a good test-run before the Premier goes for the general election.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed a fatigue with tory volunteers in Calgary since the leaderhsip race and Jim Dinning's defeat. I don't think Calgary-Elbow is as solid a tory district as it once was.

I was at my PC constituency meeting this week and the people involved in my district are tired. I hate to say it, but there's not much energy or excitement here in calgary in the party.

Chris Young said...

Don't count on Lukaszuk running for the federal nomination...

michael in calgary said...

I'll be vounteering night and day for the Liberal candidate in Calgary Elbow!

Anonymous said...

Kim Krushell for Edmonton Castle Downs!

Anonymous said...

Kim Krushell -- No real job experience. No real policy agenda other than self promotion. No to the Kimmer!

Principled Conservative said...

Dave France will likely be the AA candidate in Drumheller/Stettler.
http://www.davefrance.com/

This is PC country and I doubt that is likely to change. The two urban seats could both go Liberal unless Jim Dinning runs in Calgary-Elbow.

Anonymous said...

Jim running in Calgary-Elbow? Where have you been over the last couple of months? When he lost the leadership, Jim disappeared. Throughout the campaign he refused to indicate that he would run as an MLA if he lost the leadership (an implicit "no"). Since the campaign finished he has been invisible. I highly doubt it now, as I think he has no interest in being anyone's number 2 when he was going for the top job.

And no, I don't think he would pull a Betkowski/MacBeth and run as a Liberal candidate. I could be wrong on this but the hatred that existed between Betkowski and Klein (mutual, I suppose) is not replicated between Dinning and Stelmach. So for Jim to cast aside his long term PC affiliation for another shot at the premiership would be seen as naked opportunism.

There are probably some in the Calgary PC establishment that would like to see Stelmach "weakened" by the Liberals taking Elbow, since Stelmach beat their favoured son. But I think cooler heads will prevail and they will rally behind the new premier. Stelmach has been spending a goodly amount of time in Calgary. Besides, lost seats can be hard to regain and the primary focus of any political party is to remain in power to best represent the interest of their members. The Federal Liberals of the Chretien/Martin era are an excellent case study as to what happens when personal feuds trump interests of party electoral survival.

Could Calgary-Elbow go Liberal? Sure it could. Most ridings are not bullet-proof. The right candidate as a challenger against the wrong candidate as an incumbent (or newcomer replacement for incumbent) and you could have a real race on your hands in most areas of the province. The Liberals will surely be pushing for a star candidate to run. Look for them to run a woman since they will try and play the same tired old lament about the PC cabinet being light on women, visible minorities, blah, blah (i.e. gender and race ranking above merit and loyalty). A one-legged lesbian Muslim of mixed racial parentage perhaps? ;-)

Anonymous said...

How about Judy Gordon running again for the Tories? She used to be teh MLA for Lacombe-Stettler and I heard a rumor that she may be interested in getting back in the game?

Anonymous said...

Is Dave France's website meant to be a joke? The grammar is so awful that it certainly reads like one.

I found myself laughing quite a bit... that might be my new favorite poltico-comedy website. So long Daveberta, hello Davefrance!

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the independents