Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out of the Blue?

One of the most hotly contested byelection campaigns in Alberta's history wraps up tonight as Calgary Elbow residents vote for the MLA to replace Ralph Klein. The Tories have burned through $200,000 of taxpayer dollars to send out pamphlets across the province, they've re-re-re-re-announced funding for a South Calgary hospital, and they even rolled Jim Dinning out last week to drum up support for his next leadership bid Brian Henninger's campaign. In an absolutely bizarre twist, Henninger seems to be running on an "anti-Ed" platform, promising to choke the Premier if elected. The election is being hyped as Ed Stelmach's Alamo and an Ederendum, with the conventional wisdom being that we're in store for a photo finish.

There will be less suspense for the Drumheller vote tonight, in a riding the PCs have traditionally won by 6-1 or 7-1 vote ratios. But, if Elbow is Stelmach's Calgary litmus test, Drumheller is his rural one and it will be interesting to see if any erosion has occurred in the party base.

I was out in Drumheller on the weekend with some other Liberals to help door knock and I must say I was absolutely blown away by the support for Liberal candidate Tom Dooley in the poll I was in. For the first hour, I honestly felt like I was in the GTA, rather than rural Alberta (well...maybe that's pushing it...let's say Edmonton). I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tom picks up a few polls in Drumheller due to his personal popularity and anger over the Balzac water transfer. The rest of the riding is still pretty anti-Liberal (damn that Sifton! damn that Rutherford!), but just getting a candidate of Tom Dooley's local profile to run for the ALP gives them some credibility in rural Alberta. Oh, and I can't let a post about the Drumheller byelection pass without mentioning John Rew who is...well...I'll let his website speak for himself.

Byelections are weird creatures and hard to predict. Between low voter turn-out and the absense of any real polls, you're really going on gut alone so any predictions almost ensure the predictor will look like an idiot afterwards. That said, here are my entries in a pool I'm in...maybe I'm being a little overly optimistic for the home team, but what the hell:

Calgary Elbow

Liberals 45%
PC 38%
Alliance 7%
Greens 6%
NDP 3% (The NDP will no doubt receive a boost by having Brian Mason run in both ridings)

PC 45%
Liberals 22%
Alliance 18%
Greens 6%
Social Credit 4%

I'll be down at Cheffins headquaters tonight and, having just now learned how to do mobile blogging, will post the vote totals from Elbow and Drumheller as soon as they come in [since I expect all of my Ontario readers will be up late, eagerly awaiting the results].



  • CG — As a former Albertan living in Ontario, I'll definitely be tuning into your blog tonight. Thanks!

    By Blogger sir john a., at 5:17 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Brandon E. Beasley, at 6:55 p.m.  

  • I think, as you said, your prediction for C-E tonight is a bit too favourable to us. I think if we're going to pull it off, it's going to be by just a hair.

    I do have a good feeling though, and I think that the PCs are in for a real shock tonight. I only wish I lived in the riding so I could vote myself!

    (I have major spelling/word-leaving-out problems, hence the deletion)

    By Blogger Brandon E. Beasley, at 6:56 p.m.  

  • A by-election is time to cast a protest vote. If it is close, and a lib wins, he can't count on a repeat in a prov election. But, if it is a blowout, well maybe next time he will win again.

    By Blogger maryT, at 7:16 p.m.  

  • Well, without the advance numbers or the special vote, 75/77 reporting, your numbers for Calgary Elbow are spot on for the tories, grits, greens, and ndp. Good job CG!!

    By Blogger Kirk Schmidt, at 11:58 p.m.  

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