Stelmach makes big gains in capital
Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach vowed to put the "Ed" back in "Edmonton" and yesterday’s election results show that he did just that — humiliating the Liberals in their own backyard.
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The political landscape of Edmonton shifted Conservative last night, with the addition of nine Tory seats in a city typically dominated by opposition members.
The tight grip the Liberals had on a city once dubbed "Redmonton" loosened from a high of 17 to four seats currently while the New Democrats lost 2 of their 4 central ridings, according to unofficial election results available as of presstime.
Looking for big gains in the capital with a new, non-Calgary premier, early projections pointed towards the Tories securing 12 Edmonton seats, nine more from the 2004 election.
Many other races were incredibly close, with the Tories and Liberals locked in neck-and-neck battle separated by only a few hundred votes.
In Edmonton-Castle Downs, where Tory candidate Thomas Lukaszuk won in 2004 after judicial recount gave him a razor-thin three vote edge, he easily surpassed his Liberal counterpart.
"I’m ecstatic. What a big difference from last election when I won by only three votes in a recount," Lukaszuk said last night.
He doesn’t believe seeing Edmonton ridings turn Tory, however, is part of a Conservative resurgence in the city. He says the voters were always there, but headed to the polls in droves this election because the party has shown they can be trusted.
"This time, they’ve given us a chance for the next three to four years. We will have to now earn those votes for next time around," he said.
While the NDP look to be losing two seats in unofficial results, they retained Edmonton-Strathcona with their star candidate Rachel Notley — the daughter of a former party leader.
She said she’s excited to finally enter politics, but admitted that she expected to see the Tories make a large surge in Edmonton.