Edmonton-Strathcona has been painted orange since Raj Pannu swept into politics in 1997, so when the popular politician announced he would not be seeking re-election the Alberta New Democrats were quick to nominate a new candidate.
Rachel Notley started door-knocking in Nov. 2006. While her campaign was ready to go when the writ was dropped, she’s not taking the seat for granted.
"It’s not a given that the margin that Raj won by will automatically all translate back to us, so that’s why I’ve been working so hard for the last year and a half," Notley said yesterday. "It’s a riding that I have to earn."
More than 60 per cent of constituents in Edmonton-Strathcona voted for Pannu in 2004.
Meanwhile, Alberta Liberal candidate Tim Vant is hoping to sway New Democrat supporters over to his camp to help create a more unified opposition. While he admitted he’s come across many "staunch NDs" along the campaign trail, he’s relying on his party’s cry that "it’s time for a change" to influence voters.
"I hold the New Democrats in high regard, and I have respect for the healthy voice of opposition that they’ve helped maintain," he said. "However, with 63 seats of Conservatives and 20 seats of opposition, you can either stand proud on your New Democratic morals or we can get something better out here."
Also running in the riding are Adrian Cole for the Greens, T.J. Keil for the Conservatives and Tyler Dudley for the Wildrose Alliance.
Voters head to the polls on March 3 for the provincial election.