There are a lot of Liberals heading in to work with big smiles on their faces this morning. Yes, I know the Tories still won over 70% of the seats in what would be, in any other province, a landslide win. But in politics, it's all about expectations. Listening to King Ralph last night, you could tell there was no joy in Calgary Elbow, or in other Conservative circles. 16-18 seats for the Liberals was my absolute best case scenario and I never expected us to grab 3 seats in Calgary - I would have been happy with one. There are many reasons for the NDP to be excited today too after a very strong showing in Edmonton. And hey, the Alliance have a seat to build on, even if their leader was beat soundly.
The Calgary results are the ones I'm really excited about. There were two seats which the Liberals lost by the skin of their teeth and the three seats won gives us a lot to build on. A quick run-down of the winners:
1. Dave Taylor: This guy is the new voice for Liberals in Calgary. At the central victory party last night he gave a long speech which talked about building the party's strength in the city (He was the only candidate who came ready with a victory speech from the sounds of things). Extremelly well spoken and great contacts in the media - this is the face who will represent the party in Calgary for many years. Definitely the heir to Kevin Taft, although I'm sure Kevin will be sticking around tonight after these results.
2. David Swann: WOW. Swann won in an absolute landsline. He's got little political sense and is soft spoken but he's got a lot of strong ideas. And obviously a strong following. The key for him will definitely be to surround himself with smart political people. For good or bad, he'll get himself in the news quite a lot over the next four years - hopefully for good.
3. Harry Chase: This one was a bit of a surprise although I figured he had an outside shot. A long time Liberal who should do well in Edmonton. I think a lot of his supporters and Harry himself were genuinely surprised with the results.
All in all, a great night for the party. I really don't see how the Liberals will ever be able to form government after looking at the rural results, but this is definitely something to build on as all eyes turn to the Conservative leadership race.