NDP maintains Edmonton stronghold, while Mandel defeated in hometown
Notley holds her seat; NDP upsets Stephen Mandel and Len Rhodes
Edmonton bucked the province's tilt to the right in Tuesday night's election and remains an NDP stronghold, although two races in the southern corners of the city remain too close to call.
High-profile candidates such as Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and UCP star candidate Len Rhodes were both en route to decisive defeats at the hands of their NDP opponents.
The loss for Mandel, the city's former mayor and one of the Alberta Party's most well-known faces, puts his future with the party in question. He had only been at the helm of the upstart party since February 2018.
"We're optimistic about the future of the party ... we will continue to work hard," Mandel said in his concession speech in Edmonton.
"I look forward to seeing the next steps, what's going to happen to the party. I really believe this is the party of the future," Mandel said, adding that he believes the Alberta Party is an option for people who want to step away from deep political polarization in Alberta.
NDP incumbent Lorne Dach appeared set to win the Edmonton-McClung riding, with approximately 44 per cent of the vote, to the UCP Laurie Mozeson's 34 per cent, and Mandel's 21 per cent.
The riding, however, had a large number of advance ballots that were cast outside the riding. Those ballots — more than 4,200 — will be counted Wednesday.
Meanwhile, other notable NDP candidates cruised to easy victories throughout the city, including former NDP deputy premier Sarah Hoffman, who is on track to retain her seat in Edmonton-Glenora, with a solid lead over the UCP candidate, Marjorie Newman.
David Eggen, who headed the education file for the past four years, swept past his closest competitor in the riding of Edmonton-North West.
In perhaps the least surprising Edmonton result, NDP leader Rachel Notley is expected to win Edmonton-Strathcona with 70 per cent of the vote.
New faces elected
The projected NDP winners in Edmonton also include some new faces.
In Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, former teacher Janis Irwin trounced the UCP candidate, capturing more than 60 per cent of the vote with the majority of polls reporting.
In Edmonton-Whitemud, rookie NDP candidate Rakhi Pancholi is expected to win over UCP candidate Elisabeth Hughes.
Political newcomer Jasvir Deol — who only won the NDP nomination contest in February — is on track to beat star UCP candidate Len Rhodes in Edmonton-Meadows by at least 1,500 votes.
Rhodes was hand-picked to run in the new riding of Edmonton-Meadows by Kenney, who used his leadership powers to appoint Rhodes over three others who had spent months vying for UCP the nomination. The appointment caused waves within the riding's UCP base, with 14 members of the constituency association complaining about the appointment.
"People gave their decision for Rachel Notley and the NDP — and that's what we were hearing (on the doorsteps)," Deol said after he was projected to win the riding on Tuesday.
"People clearly rejected Jason Kenney's decision to parachute a candidate into my riding."
Some Edmonton ridings were still too close to call late Tuesday night.
In Edmonton-West Henday, only 113 votes separated NDP incumbent Jon Carson from UCP candidate Nicole Williams, with all but two polls reporting.
In Edmonton-South West, fewer than 800 votes separated UCP candidate Kaycee Madu from the NDP's John Archer, with approximately 97 per cent of polls reporting.
With hundreds of thousands of Albertans who participated in advance polling this year, Elections Alberta won't even start counting some of those votes until Wednesday afternoon — both of these tight races have a large number of outstanding ballots still to be counted.
Outside the city limits, NDP candidates saw their hold on seats quickly disappear.
Former municipal affairs minister Shaye Anderson is projected to lose his seat in Leduc-Beaumont to UCP candidate Brad Rutherford by more than 3,500 votes.
And the party appeared unable to maintain its grip on Red Deer, with incumbents in the city's two ridings expected to cede their seats to UCP candidates.
In Red Deer North, UCP candidate Adriana LaGrange, a school trustee, is projected to win with more than double the votes of NDP incumbent Kim Schreiner.
Similarly, in Red Deer South, lawyer and chartered accountant Jason Stephan had more than 4,000 votes over NDP incumbent Barb Miller, with more than two-thirds of polls reporting.