Stephen Mandel easily won the Edmonton-Whitemud byelection Monday on a night that saw Premier Jim Prentice and two other Progressive Conservative candidates take ridings in Calgary.
"We will not disappoint you," Mandel told the crowd during his acceptance speech.
"We won't disappoint you as the Prentice government. I won't disappoint you as the health minister. We won't disappoint you, because we have the best team of MLAs that we've ever had in the past."
Mandel, who faced numerous attacks during the campaign, beat second-place NDP candidate Bob Turner by 6,003 to 3,150 votes, and took 42 per cent of the total votes.
Wildrose candidate Tim Grover finished third with 2,679 votes.
"We are now kosher," Mandel told supporters, referring the fact that he has been the province's health minister since September, despite not holding a seat.
With the byelection over, Mandel said he will now turn all of his attention to the health portfolio, as well as issues in his new riding. He cited school and playground construction as two issues facing Edmonton-Whitemud at the moment, and said he planned to meet with "unhappy community members."
Mandel called his win, as well as the other three PC victories in Calgary, as a vote of confidence in the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice, who won his own race in Calgary-Foothills with almost 60 per cent of the vote.
"That's wonderful ... it says a great deal about Jim Prentice's leadership," he said.
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NDP pleased with support: Turner
Turner called to congratulate Mandel. But even in defeat he noted his party doubled its support in the riding, long seen as a PC stronghold. Former Premier Dave Hancock held Edmonton-Whitemud for17 years before resigning earlier this year.
“We have made a major victory tonight,” Turner told supporters after he conceded to Mandel.
“I tell you, I could not be prouder … we have identified more supporters in this four-week byelection than we’ve had in the past four years in this riding.”
The byelection saw a dip in the ruling PC party's support in the riding. In the 2012 general election, Hancock held the riding with 60 per cent of the vote, far ahead of the Wildrose's 16-per-cent share.