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Alberta election 2019: The ridings to watch

Calgary-Lougheed? Pretty sure Jason Kenney is running away with that one. Edmonton-Strathcona? Seems safe to say Rachel Notley will be crowned. The only real certainty is that there are some ridings that will be more interesting to watch than others.

While there are plenty of areas where the result is all but decided, there are some interesting races

Alberta party leaders exchange handshakes following the election debate. (Codie McLachlan/Canadian Press)

For the developments on election night, see:


If the polls are to be believed, the United Conservative Party is about to form a majority government in Alberta. It's hard to see a path to re-election for the NDP even with the party retaining seats in Calgary, but we won't know for sure until the votes are counted.  

There's also the question of smaller parties taking bites out of the two leading contenders in the cities and outside.

The only real certainty is that there are some ridings that will be more interesting to watch than others.

Calgary-Lougheed? Pretty sure Jason Kenney is running away with that one. Edmonton-Strathcona? Seems safe to say Rachel Notley will be crowned.

Here's a breakdown, in no particular order, of the ridings where almost anything could happen on election night, with varying levels of anxiety for those in the race. 

And if you'd like to see the full list of candidates in each riding, go to the Elections Alberta candidate page.

Calgary-Cross

This east Calgary riding has an incumbent NDP cabinet minister, Ricardo Miranda. It also has a challenge on the UCP side from former MLA Moe Amery's son Mickey. Factor in the small margin of victory for Miranda in 2015 and this could be a race. 

Calgary-Currie

Another Calgary riding with an incumbent cabinet minister, Calgary-Currie could be a close call. Brian Malkinson is in charge of the sprawling Service Alberta file and could pull out a win, but he faces a challenge from Nicholas Milliken of the UCP. 

Calgary-Elbow

This is the one riding in Alberta where you can confidently say the Alberta Party is a leading contender. Former party leader Greg Clark is facing off against former UCP leadership contender Doug Schweitzer, while the NDP have mounted a serious campaign with Janet Eremenko. 

While Edmonton is expected to be an NDP stronghold, polls suggest Calgary will elect more UCP MLAs. (Leslie Kramer/CBC, Manpreet Kooner)

Calgary-Klein

Incumbent Craig Coolahan from the NDP has a good chance here, but the UCP's Jeremy Nixon — brother of Jason Nixon, a UCP incumbent in a different riding  — is pushing hard. Jason Kenney has been spending time in this riding, which probably means the UCP thinks it can win here. Also a factor: Kara Levis with the Alberta Party. She should have some name recognition from her run for the leadership of that party. 

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Calgary-Mountain View

This is a wild riding. Powerful NDP cabinet minister Kathleen Ganley was moved to this riding after re-distribution in order to make room for fellow cabinet minister Joe Ceci in Calgary-Buffalo. She's facing off against Liberal Leader David Khan and UCP candidate Jeremy Wong, who was put in place after Caylan Ford resigned due to controversial statements. 

Former Liberal leader David Swann held this seat for years. 

Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

There's some speculation this rural riding that brushes up against Edmonton could go to the NDP. Incumbent Jessica Littlewood of the NDP is squaring off against Jackie Armstrong Homeniuk with the UCP. 

A polling station sign at Elbow Park School in Calgary. (CBC)

Leduc-Beaumont

Nestled into the southern end of Edmonton, Leduc-Beaumont is competitive with NDP cabinet minister Shaye Anderson taking on a full state of hopefuls, including Brad Rutherford with the UCP. 

Morinville-St. Albert

On Edmonton's northern end, this riding could go UCP. It's a new riding, created with redistribution since the election in 2015, so there's no incumbent. Dale Nally with the UCP and Natalie Birnie with the NDP are contesting along with Neil Korotash with the Alberta Party, Tamara Krywiak with Alberta Advantage, Cass Romyn with the Greens and Mike Van Velzen with the Independence Party. 

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Edmonton-Castle Downs

Could this one go to the UCP? Ed Ammar hopes so. He'll have to beat the NDP's Nicole Goehring in what could be a tight race.

Edmonton-Decore

Chris Nielsen with the NDP is the incumbent here, but the riding has gone from PC to Liberal to NDP since it was created in 2004, so there's no sure victory. Nielsen will have to face down Karen Principe with the UCP. 

Alberta's legislature in Edmonton during the summer. (CBC)

Edmonton-Riverview

Lori Sigurdson is a well known NDP name, but she's got a challenge on her hands. Former PC party president Katherine O'Neil is running for the Alberta Party and there's Kara Barker with the UCP. 

Edmonton-Rutherford

Richard Feehan was the minister of Indigenous relations for the NDP but has to take the challenge from Hannah Presakarchuk with the UCP seriously. 

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Edmonton-South

New Democrat Thomas Dang is the youngest MLA ever elected in Alberta — he was just barely 20 — and has made himself known since taking office. Still, his victory isn't assured in this newly created riding. Watch for challenger Tunde Obasan with with UCP. 


While the ridings above are going to be tight, as in, you can barely get a piece of paper in there tight, the ridings below have a bit more breathing room. Still, they aren't sure things, and anything is possible on election night. 

Calgary-Buffalo

In an election where nothing is assured for the NDP, particularly in Calgary, this riding will be interesting. Joe Ceci, finance minister for the NDP government, moved into this riding after redistribution. He'll have to take on Omar Masood with the Alberta Party and Tom Olsen, the UCP candidate who's been at Kenney's side for at least one of his signature policy announcements. 

Almost 700,000 votes have already been cast in advance polls. (CBC)

Calgary-Glenmore

Is there really a challenge in this traditionally conservative riding? It went to the NDP in 2015, barely, and is without an incumbent. Whitney Issik with the UCP has seen strong support from Kenney, but she'll have to watch for the NDP's Jordan Stein. 

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Calgary-Varsity

Anne McGrath is an NDP stalwart. She was chief of staff to Jack Layton and was Rachel Notley's principal secretary before taking on the role of executive director for southern Alberta under the Alberta NDP government. She's facing off against Jason Copping with the UCP 

The riding has floated between parties since it was created and was won by the NDP's Stephanie McLean in 2015. 

Chestermere-Strathmore

Surely deputy UCP leader Leela Aheer will win, right? Likely, but she's facing off against former UCP MLA and current Freedom Conservative Party Leader Derek Fildebrandt. Will Fildebrandt get his revenge on the party that removed him? 

Lethbridge-West

Shannon Phillips was a high-profile cabinet minister for the NDP, overseeing environment, parks and climate change. This being a seat in southern Alberta, however, means Phillips has had to work hard. She's squaring off against Karri Flatla with the UCP. 

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Edmonton-McClung

A fairly progressive riding, based on past voting history, this one is interesting for the inclusion of Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel. The former Edmonton mayor and PC cabinet minister has strong name recognition but is fighting an uphill battle. He'll have to take down the NDP incumbent, Lorne Dach. 

Corrections

  • In an earlier version of this story, it was stated that UCP candidate Caylan Ford was booted out of the race in Calgary-Mountain View. In fact, she resigned.
    Apr 16, 2019 6:42 PM MT

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