A new face will be representing the Wildrose for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre in the next provincial election.
Jason Nixon, the former constituency president for the riding, won the nomination race Saturday evening, defeating MLA Joe Anglin with 242 votes compared to Anglin’s 122.
Nixon, 34, lives west of Sundre in the Bearberry area with his wife and three children. He was formally the executive director of Mountain Aire Lodge in the West Country and is currently president of the student union at the online Athabasca University, as he finishes the certified general accountant program. He could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Anglin, 58, will continue to sit as the constituency’s MLA until the next election.
Anglin could also not be reached for comment but tweeted his congratulations to Nixon on Saturday night.
Wildrose leader Danielle Steele said the “members have spoken” in a statement, congratulating Nixon and thanking Anglin for his past efforts.
“Joe is a passionate fighter for the causes he believes in and has done some very good work for Albertans. I am sure he will continue to fight hard for his causes and find ways to continue to serve Albertans. That said, Wildrose is committed to assembling the best possible Wildrose team for the next election, and I am confident that Jason Nixon will work hard and diligently for the voters of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre and he will do a great job as their MLA after the next election.”
Ted Bach, who took over as the riding’s constituency association president when Nixon filed his nomination papers, said he’s looking forward to working with Nixon.
“He’s young and energetic and seems to have some good ideas about bringing the party together, the people together,” said Bach, who also worked as Anglin’s campaign manager in the past. “We do need to start doing a lot of fundraising to get prepared for the next election and I think he’ll do a good job.”
Bach said he’s also been impressed with Anglin’s work in the legislature.
“I know he’s had a very busy schedule and so maybe that’s why he didn’t seem quite as prepared as Jason was to take on the nomination,” he said. “But Joe’s been doing a good job and we sure need him in the next couple years.”
The nomination battle perked a number of ears after Anglin, known as an outspoken utilities critic, tried to have Nixon disqualified, citing he broke party rules by not stepping down as president ahead of announcing his nomination. The Wildrose ruled in Nixon’s favour and Anglin lashed out, accusing them of playing favourites.
He later told the Advocate the race was riff with scrappy intrigues, including a death threat and an implied bribe to get him to step down.
Bach said he sees the controversial race as a learning opportunity.
“Both candidates set up their teams and as an inner party election we like to stay neutral,” he said. “Both teams are going to try to win their race and at the end of the day we’re all going to come together and join again and learn, become stronger from it. It just shows how much interest and heart people have in the constituency for the direction we take and the way the PCs have been governing.”
Nominations opened in about 20 Wildrose ridings earlier this spring. Last week, nominations opened up in four more constituencies in the Edmonton, Leduc and Calgary areas.
No other ridings in Central Alberta are facing a nomination challenge.