The six Central Alberta ridings surrounding the City of Red Deer all voted for the return of the United Conservative Party in Monday’s provincial election.
All of the UCP candidates in the Drumheller-Stettler, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Lacombe-Ponoka, Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin, Olds-Didsbury and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre ridings were victorious.
Constituents within the Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin riding re-elected Rick Wilson, who has been serving as the minister of Indigenous relations, over four other candidates, including the NDP’s Katherine Swampy.
“It’s just a really good feeling to see a lot of good friends to get (re-elected) and to see some new (party members) get in there,” Wilson said, adding he received congratulations from party leader Danielle Smith after his victory was confirmed.
“I’m honoured to be able to take another term and to work hard for the people of the Province of Alberta. It’s been such an honour, it’s a little overwhelming.”
With nine of 19 polls reporting, Wilson, who will be entering his second term as MLA, had received 5,773 of 8,581 votes.
Nate Horner, who has been serving as the province’s minister of agriculture and irrigation, was re-elected in a landslide victory in the Drumheller-Stettler riding. With 42 of 45 poll locations reporting, Horner pulled in 10,000 votes – the second-closest candidate was NDP’s Juliet Franklin with 1,407. This will also be Horner’s second term as MLA.
Devin Dreeshen, who was minister of transportation and economic corridors, won the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding for the UCP. Dreeshen was first elected in a 2018 byelection. He had a 71.4 per cent share of the votes with 15 of 21 polls reporting.
UCP candidate Jennifer Johnson was victorious in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding. She ended up receiving 67 per cent of the votes with 19 of 21 polls reporting.
Prior to the election, UCP leader Danielle Smith said Johnson would not sit in the party’s caucus. This is due to comments Johnson made comparing transgender students in schools to feces in food.
In the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills riding, Nathan Cooper will return as MLA after a decisive win. This will be Cooper’s third term as MLA – he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 2015. With 20 of 27 polls reporting, Cooper received 76.3 per cent of the vote.
Jason Nixon, who has been a MLA since 2015, took the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding once again. He had 71.1 per cent of the votes with 16 of 23 polls reporting.
Voting results in Nixon’s riding were delayed one hour and 46 minutes after polls closed in most locations due to a delay in opening of the Sunchild Admin Building poll location.
Final ballot counts were unavailable at time of publishing.