Progressive Conservative incumbent Mary Anne Jablonski squeaked by to keep her Red Deer North seat in the legislature on Monday.
With 79 out of 83 polls reporting at 11 p.m., Jablonski had 4,876 votes. Wildrose Party candidate Randy Weins had 4,193. Liberal Michael Dawe had 2,224 votes. NDP’s Derrek Seelinger received 930 votes and Alberta Party’s Brent Chalmers had 238.
Jablonski, who won her fifth election, said it was a difficult win and compared it to her first win in a byelection in 2000.
“I learned a lot of lessons during this election. I know there are things I need to pay attention to,” said Jablonski, who gathered with supporters at her Ross Street campaign office on Monday night.
“One thing I know I’m going to work at right away is the staffing at Michener Hill Extendicare. That’s important to me because I want to know that our seniors are being looked after the way they should be looked after.”
Jablonski, 59, served as minister for Seniors and Community Supports in Ed Stelmach’s second cabinet in 2008 and entered the election as the Continuing Care Centre Secretariat.
In 2008, she won with 57.9 per cent of votes with 4,715 ballots.
Jablonski said during the campaign that people told her they wanted to give PC Leader Alison Redford a chance.
She said Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith was pulling Albertans backwards, making them isolationists.
“I don’t think that’s what Albertans want or need,” Jablonski said.
Weins said Wildrose ran a good race and going up against a 10-year veteran in Jablonski was tough.
“Sometimes people tend to vote for stability, people they know rather than the ones they don’t,” Weins said.
Chalmers said it was probably fear that allowed the PCs to win the election.
“If I had to attribute it to anything, I think it would be the voters’ fear of the Wildrose Party and the strategic voting that went on to support the Conservative Party.”
Dawe said the PCs raised some strong concerns about the Wildrose in the last days of the election.
And he will be monitoring to see if the PCs follow through on their “tremendous” election promises.
As for the future, Dawe said he’s not discouraged by his loss and would run again if the circumstances were right.
“I’m not going to disappear,” Dawe said.
Seelinger said the PCs were better than the Wildrose alternative.
He would also consider running again.
“It’s a base for me. I’ve got a starting point now for the next election,” Seelinger said.