Edmonton NDP's Duncan spoils Tory sweep of Alberta

NDP candidate Linda Duncan has defeated long-time Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer in Edmonton-Strathcona, making the riding the only one in Alberta not to go to the Conservatives.

NDP candidate Linda Duncan has defeated longtime Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer in Edmonton-Strathcona, making the riding the only one in Alberta not to go to the Conservatives in Tuesday's federal election.

Edmonton-Strathcona NDP candidate Linda Duncan speaks with reporters after she gave her victory speech Tuesday night. ((CBC))

Jaffer, who was first elected in 1997, looked like he would take the riding earlier in the evening, but in a dramatic change of events, Duncan pulled ahead as more polls reported. 

Duncan had a 442-vote lead with all 223 polls reporting.

"The people of Strathcona have spoken. Time for a change in Edmonton-Strathcona and we're all going to Ottawa together," Duncan said to cheering supporters at her campaign headquarters.

Duncan attributed her success to what she called a "community-driven campaign." She thanked her sign crew and her volunteers, adding that about 100 workers hit 6,000 households in a blitz one afternoon.

In another close race, Conservative Tim Uppal defeated independent candidate James Ford in Edmonton-Sherwood Park.

"It was absolutely up and down all night long. We were leading, then we were down.  I'm just pleased that we pulled it through at the end," Uppal said.

Ford is a long-time Conservative loyalist who decided to run as an independent because he was unhappy with the way Uppal won the Conservative nomination in the riding. 

Reflecting on the controversy over his nomination, Uppal said now that the election is over, he plans to "get the family back together and work at uniting this very strong Conservative riding."

For his part, Ford said he hoped his candidacy sent the Conservative party a message about how they handle nominations.

"I hope it is loud and I hope that they will do something in future in terms of party-down politics instead of grassroots up,"  he said.

Hawn wins again in Edmonton Centre

Conservative Laurie Hawn was elected to a second term in Edmonton Centre, defeating Liberal Jim Wachowich, a well-known consumer advocate and lawyer.

The Liberals had seen Edmonton Centre as their best hope to win a seat in Alberta. The riding had been held by Liberal Anne McLellan for 13 years until she lost to Hawn by 3,600 votes in 2006.

Hawn won the riding Tuesday with 49 per cent of the vote. Wachowich came in second with 27 percent of the votes.

Hawn attributed his win to the hard work of his volunteers, many who worked with him in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

"That's what it takes.  It's not one individual. It's an entire team.  And that's what we had,"  Hawn said, adding the fact the Liberals were targetting the riding motivated everyone who worked on his campaign.

Wachowich said he will take time to analyze the results to figure out why things didn't go his way, but added the current world economic crisis may have been a factor.

"People just didn't want change, and they voted for the incumbent," he said.

Goldring, Ambrose, and Rajotte re-elected

In Edmonton East, Conservative Peter Goldring was elected for fifth election in a row, his third consecutive term in the riding of Edmonton East, beating his closest rival, former provincial NDP leader and MLA Ray Martin. Martin decided to run for the NDP federally in Edmonton East, after losing his seat in the provincial election of March 2008.

In several suburban Edmonton ridings, Conservative candidates cruised to early victories.

Conservative cabinet minister Rona Ambrose held on to her seat, winning Edmonton-Spruce Grove for the third time.

Incumbent James Rajotte took Edmonton-Leduc for the Conservatives, as did Mike Lake in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont.

Former provincial MLA Brent Rathgeber was elected for the Conservatives in Edmonton-St. Albert, a riding held by Conservative John Williams since 1993.  Williams decided not to run in this election.

The Conservatives continued their hold on ridings outside of Edmonton: Brian Jean was re-elected in Fort McMurray-Athabasca; incumbent Chris Warkentin won for the Conservatives in Peace River, and Brian Storseth won in the riding of Westlock-St. Paul.

As well, incumbent Conservative Rob Merrifield was re-elected to serve a fourth term for the Yellowhead riding, Blaine Calkins won in the riding of Wetaskiwin, and long-time Conservative MP Leon Benoit was elected to another term in Vegreville-Wainwright.

In Red Deer, Earl Dreeshen won the riding decisively for the Conservatives, taking 73 per cent of the vote.