The first Wildrose Party defector has won a nomination bid to become a PC Alberta candidate after the polls closed on seven contested nomination ridings Saturday.
Medicine Hat MLA Blake Pedersen was first elected in the 2012 provincial election as a member of the Wildrose Party. In December 2014, Pederson was one of nine Wildrose members — including then party leader Danielle Smith — to cross the floor to the PC Party. However, the changing of colours did nothing to deter voters in Medicine Hat who elected Pederson as the PC candidate for the area, beating out opponents John Hamill and Jeff Lanigan.
Meanwhile in the Bonnyville-Cold Lake riding, current, now former Cold Lake mayor, Craig Copeland emerged victorious over former Wildrose nomination candidate Dixie Dahlstedt.
In the lone Edmonton-area riding, it was Rus Matichuk who became the PC candidate for Spruce Grove-St. Albert, beating out Neil Kortash, and Kathleen Range.
Tammy Cote defeated Terry Engen in the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding — where former Wildrose turned Independent MLA Joe Anglin was denied the opportunity to run for the PC caucus.
Mark Hlady narrowly walked away as the new PC candidate for Calgary-Mountain View, beating out first-time nominee Lynn Moen and eking past fellow nominee, Jean-Sebastien Rioux, by just two votes.
“Well, things did not go my way: I lost by 2 votes. Congratulations Mark Hlady for a good race and thank you to my team!” tweeted Rioux, following the results of the election.
Richard Gotfried beat out Myles McDougall in departing Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth’s riding of Calgary-Fish Creek, while Sandra Jansen came away on top in Calgary-North West over Blair Houston.
Following the election results, new PC candidates received a vote of confidence from their new boss.
“Congrats to all candidates across Alberta, it takes great commitment to put your name forward a lot of strong volunteers,” tweeted Alberta premier, Jim Prentice.
Actual numbered results of the nomination elections were not released Saturday.