Wildrose takes riding as voters send message to Ed

The Wildrose Alliance gained some provincial street cred Monday after Paul Hinman won the Calgary-Glenmore byelection.

“It didn’t matter who won,” said Duane Bratt, a Mount Royal University political analyst.

He said that no matter what the outcome, constituents lost senior cabinet minister and deputy premier Ron Stevens and got a back bench MLA. Only time will tell if a backbencher can pull as much influence for the riding as an MLA from the governing party.

Hinman won 37 per cent of the vote, with Liberal candidate Avalon Roberts a close second at 34 per cent.

Conservative candidate and former Ward 13 Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart came in last with 26 per cent, despite Conservative domination of the riding for the last 40 years.

“Ultimately it comes down to a referendum on Ed Stelmach’s leadership and a sense that he just doesn’t understand Calgarians,” said Bratt, noting Stelmach has another three and a half years left on his term.

Hinman agreed, saying the most important part of his job will be to “relay the message that’s been sent to Ed.”

Many liberal supporters were hoping a split right vote would put Roberts in the lead, said Bratt.

The Liberal opposition is typically “where protest votes go, but not in this case,” he said. Grit supporters were “shaking their heads” after results were announced Monday evening.

Hinman said Stelmach’s party’s “phoney Conservative talk” has been exposed.

“They’ve been put on notice by the voters of Calgary-Glenmore.”

Hinman is currently under investigation by Elections Alberta after a Liberal volunteer shared a video of Hinman greeting voters outside a polling station. It is illegal for candidates to campaign polling station entrance ways and if found guilty Hinman could be fined up to $500 — the election results won’t be affected.

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